Berkeley County Detention Center Urgently Needs Members Of Parliament | Radio News 94.3 CSM


BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) – The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office is in desperate need of staff for the Hill-Finklea Detention Center in Monck’s Corner.

In the past three months, the department has lost 18 deputies in custody. That number has climbed to 29 since the start of the year, which equates to more than half of the 54 people.

“It’s very unusual for us,” Sheriff Duane Lewis said. “Even during the pandemic, we maintained our staffing levels and had no openings for a while.”

Over the past three months, Lewis says they have seen a massive drop in job applications and an apparent eagerness by employees to leave the detention center industry as a whole. During that time, they only saw eight applications and hired five of those people.

“We’re not getting the candidates,” Lewis said. “We’re going to have two or three candidates and they just never show up for the interview.”

Lewis identifies a number of factors, including the mental and physical stress associated with working inside a prison, the staff shortage associated with COVID, and the general challenge in the law enforcement industry to recruit police officers. employees. Oddly, however, the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have the same hiring issues on the non-detained side of the job.

The prison was built to hold 291 inmates, but has housed up to 500 at one time and with so many inmates, a staff shortage only increases the risk for current employees.

“We are in a situation where it has become essential for us to involve certain people. We have people who are working overtime to try to cover the shifts and do all of these things, ”Lewis said.

The problem may simply come down to the money. The starting salary for MPs in custody in Berkeley County is $ 32,346.72 to $ 37,198.73 per year. Lewis says it’s on par with the surrounding area, with Charleston County advertising positions at the Al Cannon Detention Center at $ 35,025 – $ 47,644 a year.

However, as with all things, the devil is in the details. Lewis says there is a big difference when it comes to paying.

“Other agencies have a step system where after one year and then three years you qualify for step increases and that continues even after promotions,” Lewis said. “There are also incentives and salary increases for the educational experience. . . these other agencies have them in place and we just don’t have them yet.

The sheriff’s office is embarking on a project to study its compensation plan, which Lewis hopes will result in a more structured approach to pay increases. In the meantime, the county council has agreed to allocate $ 20,000 to help with recruiting.

Lewis says they will offer a $ 500 sign-up bonus for new hires and a $ 500 recruiting bonus for current employees who find people who will eventually be hired.

“It’s a profession worth doing because it gives them the opportunity to work with a small group of highly skilled professionals,” Lewis said. “We have always said here that we are like family.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. All rights reserved.


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