Scott County sheriff pitches plan to fix jail understaffing

DAVENPORT, Iowa -- The Scott County sheriff has a plan to fix understaffing at the county jail by temporarily over-hiring.

Scott County Sheriff Tim Lane says the jail is currently short five correctional officers. He is looking to hire seven people, though, to fix persistent understaffing issues. Many correctional workers are hired away from the jail to become police officers and sheriff's deputies, so it can be hard to keep up with filling those spots.

"We have probably only been full-staff for about a year in the last 10 years," said Lane.

Lane says it can take up to six months to hire and train a new correctional officer, so he is hoping to get ahead of future retirements and absences by temporarily over-hiring.

"If you wait for a person to leave, and then start that process, you'll never catch up. This is a catch-up plan is what it is," said Lane.

The plan would also cut down on overtime. Correctional officers typically work 12 hour shifts at the jail, but lately, many have been working 16 hour shifts to cover the unfilled positions.

"Those long hours are very stressful for somebody working in a correctional setting, and when you do it year after year, you can really tell it takes a toll on employees," said Lane.

Lane says he can adjust the department's budget and won't need any additional money from the county to make the hires.

The Scott County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the plan during its meeting on Thursday, August 10, at 5 p.m.