Gregg County Sheriff’s Office still struggling to recruit officers

Gregg County Sheriff’s Office still struggling to recruit officers
Published: Feb. 8, 2023 at 4:08 PM CST|Updated: Feb. 8, 2023 at 9:02 PM CST
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GREGG COUNTY, Texas (KLTV) - The worst of the COVID-19 pandemic may have passed, but it’s still affecting the job market, particularly in law enforcement.

The Gregg County Sheriff’s Office is still struggling to fill open positions from staff who left during the pandemic.

“I’m not competing against other law enforcement agencies, I’m competing against the entire job market now. As much as we say this job isn’t about money and pay, it is. We have more positions than we have applicants,” says Chief Deputy Craig Harrington.

Two years ago the sheriffs office had 45 positions open. Today they still have 43 positions that have not been filled.

“43 positions short as of this morning. We have to have one officer on the floor per 48 inmates. and that is state law,” Harrington says.

Working with fewer personnel for the past two years, the sheriff’s office has had to be inventive about how the use remaining personnel. Scheduling and utilizing the remaining staff is particularly tough because of state jail standards.

“Patrol deputies that do not have a jailers license ... well, we have inmates that require transport. Patrol deputies, that’s their primary function, however on their days off they’re having to do transport. Same thing with courthouse security. We can not operate as a criminal justice system without the county jail,” the chief deputy says.

Scrutiny and criticism over deaths by law enforcement in other parts of the country has also affected public perception. But Harrington is firm that quality must be maintained.

“This is not the time to be lowering standards for anything, if anything we need to be raising standards for law enforcement,” he says.

Harrington says those interested can apply in person at the Gregg County Sheriff’s Office human resources office, or apply online. Click here for their employment page.