89.1 WEMU

A 'Critical Shortage' Of Staff At Washtenaw County Jail

Apr 25, 2019

Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton
Credit Washtenaw County / washtenaw.org

The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Department is experiencing a severe staff shortage, particularly in its jail operations.  Despite some media reports this  week, there has not been a "State of Emergency" declaration.  Sheriff Jerry Clayton joined WEMU's David Fair to clarify the situation, as it stands today, and to discuss ongoing efforts to address staffing needs. 


The Washtenaw County Sheriff's Office is dealing with "critical staffing levels" that presenting a number of challenges.  Sheriff Clayton says much of the issue comes from natural attrition through retirements and resignations.  Clayton says the typical rate of vacancy for most law enforcement departments is between eight and 10%.  Right now, his office is operating at 23% vacancy.  The sheriff says a strategic development plan is in place and efforts continue to hire more qualified staff.  He believes the department can get down to 13-15% vacancy by the end of the year. 

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu