Gregg County law enforcement, fire, seeing fewer job applicants

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 5:44 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - East Texas restaurants and other businesses have been struggling to find employees to staff them, but some law enforcement agencies and fire departments are in the same bind.

Hardest hit is the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office, which remains ’40′ positions down, and are struggling to meet state jail standards.

COVID-19 hit the sheriff’s office hard, with dozens of cases among staff and inmates.

But while the numbers are down, the jail is well short of their required staff.

“We’re operating at approximately 40 short,” says Gregg county sheriff’s office lieutenant Josh Tubb.

But they have to meet state jail standards, and are pulling resources anywhere they can get them.

“We’re having to pull from our patrol division, from our courthouse security division, from our airport division. We have to have at least one jailer per 48 inmates. And that’s every floor, 100 inmates on 1 floor we got to have 3 jailers. We’re not getting applicants. We’re having trouble finding the people to do it,” Tubb says.

Part of that problem is the current market. Other businesses are offering top dollar for prospective new employees.

“We have a lot people leaving to pursue other opportunities outside law enforcement,” Josh says.

It’s a state-wide issue that also effects fire departments.

“Our problem is that we require you to be certified. There’s not that many certified people out there anymore. The markets flooded and everybody’s looking from Longview to the Metro-plex,” says Longview fire department training chief Andy Parker.

Tubb says they’re focusing on young people looking for a career in important work.

“All these kids that are about to graduate high school, this is a career. This is something you pursue because of your love of community,” he says.

Tubb says to apply at the Gregg county sheriff’s office, you must be at least 18 years of age, have a high school diploma, and pass a drug test and background check.

Starting salary for detention officers is around 30-thousand dollars.

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