FORT BEND COUNTY, Texas - The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, like many agencies across the country, is experiencing a staffing shortage. So what’s being done to fix the problem?
One big thing the Fort Bend County Sheriff is working on to fill his more than 100 open positions is securing pay raises to attract quality employees.
"We definitely have a substantial shortage," says Fort Bend County Sheriff Eric Fagan.
Although, when you drive around Fort Bend County you may not notice a shortage of sheriff’s office workers because current employees are working significant overtime.
"It’s causing concern because of safety, the safety. My deputies here are working overtime in a lot of cases to keep up with the demands of safety," Sheriff Fagan explains, and he says overtime is a temporary fix.
Fort Bend County Commissioners have approved pay raises across the board as the sheriff’s office seeks to hire a total of nearly 120 deputies, detention officers, and 911 dispatchers, about 40 people in each category.
"Fort Bend is growing. Two years ago we were at 700 and something thousand individuals. Right now we’re at 865,000. We’ll hit that one million mark by the end of 2023 or the beginning of 2024," the sheriff says.
"This is not just a job it’s a career," adds Deputy Frank Davis with the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office Recruiting Unit and he says they are now aggressively seeking candidates.
"For the detention officer and the 911 operator, those are civilian positions," says Deputy Davis. "You can be as young as 18."
Just this week 250 potential candidates responded at a Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office job fair.
"You can’t beat the benefits in Fort Bend County. Great retirement, pension. Not only that but great insurance for you and your family," Davis explains.
"If you’re looking for a job Fort Bend County is a great place to come and find a job right here at the sheriff’s department," Sheriff Fagan adds, and he says 85% of employees, in their exit interview, cite seeking higher pay as the reason for leaving.
Fagan says raises for new and current employees have already been approved. County Commissioners are expected to announce the pay raise amount next month, and they will go into effect in October 2022.