Entire County Losing Its Daytime Police Patrols as Catastrophe Sets in – 65k Left to Fend for Themselves

Daytime sheriff’s deputy patrols will soon be a thing of the past in Tehama County, California, a small rural inland county north of Sacramento.

A statement from the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office said it can no longer cover all shifts in the roughly 65,00-person county.

“Beginning November 20, 2022, the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office will suspend day-time patrol services to its designated areas of responsibility within Tehama County. This added reduction of services is necessary to manage a catastrophic staffing shortage throughout the agency,” according to a release from the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office.

The statement noted that deputies can make more money elsewhere, making it hard to recruit.

A report in SFGate said a deputy in Tehama County would make between $52,000 to $62,000, not counting overtime. It noted that in Solano County, the pay is around $82,000 a year.

“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,” the statement said.

Shortages have forced the office to shift around those employees it has.

“Most recently, staffing shortages in the custody division have forced the sheriff’s office to reassign deputies from the operations division to fill vacancies within the courts and jail facility,” the release said.

“This unfortunate, but necessary restructuring has left the operations division with insufficient staff to sustain 24-hour patrol services,” the release said.

The release said there will still be police coverage.

“Sheriff’s officials have met with officials from the California Highway Patrol to discuss the parameters of emergency response within Tehama County. While the final details are still underway, the CHP will be responding to life-threatening emergencies during the hours that the sheriff’s office is unable to provide patrol services,” the release said.

“The sheriff’s office will maintain patrol services during the night-time hours. Deputies assigned to night shift patrol will triage and respond to the open, non-emergency calls for service that come in throughout the day,” the release said, holding out hope that full patrol services might return.

“Obviously, response times are going to be affected,” Lt. Rob Bakken of the Sheriff’s Office said, according to KRCR-TV. “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.”

A post on the Facebook page of the Tehama County Deputy Sheriff’s Association laid the blame at the door of the county Board of Supervisors.

“We have spoken the Board for several years and warned them that staffing levels are too low. Rather than take swift and decisive action, they have delayed and allowed too many good employees to leave,” the post said.

The action comes as the country’s largest community,  Red Bluff, population 14,710, already has a violent crime rate of nearly 9.79 per 1,000 residents, making it less safe than 97 percent of cities in the country, according to Neighborhood Scout.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.