In California, a county sheriff’s office announced it would cease daytime police patrols due to a “catastrophic staffing shortage.”
Starting November 20, Tehama County, which has a population of 65,000, will suspend daytime patrol services.
The county’s most populated city, Red Bluff, has a violent crime rate higher than 97% of other U.S. cities, according to Neighborhood Scout, so ending the patrols could prove dangerous.
The Tehama County Sheriff’s Office released a statement announcing the decision, noting, “Over the past several years, the Sheriff’s Office has had difficulties with recruitment and retention of employees, which has been directly linked to pay disparities. A drastic rise in attrition, coupled with the inability to present enticing recruitment efforts, have resulted in an unprecedented staffing shortage.”
Currently, Tehama County Jail’s staffing capacity is around 60%, according to KRCR-TV. The sheriff’s office has lost 20 employees over the past year.
“Obviously, response times are going to be affected,” explained Lt. Rob Bakken. “And we’ve made the decisions to limit, as much as we can, the dangers to public safety. But not having deputies on the streets, obviously, is not beneficial to the public.”
The California Highway Patrol will respond to life-threatening emergency calls in the county during the daytime hours when the sheriff’s office is unavailable.
“The Sheriff’s Office will maintain patrol services during the night-time hours,” a statement from the office noted. “Deputies assigned to night shift patrol will triage and respond to the open, non-emergency calls for service that come in throughout the day.”
As of November 7, the Tehama County Deputy Sheriff’s Association posted on Facebook that they have been warning the county’s Board of Supervisors that staffing levels are too low for several years.
“Rather than take swift and decisive action, they have delayed and allowed too many good employees to leave,” the association claimed.
Staffing shortages have also caused the Dispatch Center and several housing units at the county jail to be closed.
The Board of Supervisors of the county did not respond to reporter’s request for comment.