A Northern California sheriff’s office is cutting daytime patrols throughout its entire county due to a “catastrophic” staffing shortage.
The Tehama County Sheriff’s Office said this week it would suspend all daytime patrols beginning Nov. 20, because it does not have enough staff to police around the clock.
Instead, the sheriff’s office will patrol the county that lies north of Sacramento near the Oregon border during the night hours, and the California Highway Patrol will respond to emergencies during the day.
“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 sheriff’s office wrote in a statement. “This unfortunate, but necessary restructuring has left the operations division with insufficient staff to sustain 24-hour patrol services.”
Tehama County covers nearly 3,000 square miles and has an estimated population of more than 65,000, according to the US Census Bureau.
In a statement posted to Facebook, the Tehama County Deputy Sheriff’s Association said that it has warned the county board for years to address staffing shortages within the department, to no avail.
“Rather than take swift and decisive action, they have delayed and allowed too many good employees to leave,” the union wrote. “Several housing units within the Jail have been shut down, the Dispatch Center was temporarily shut down and now Dayshift Patrol will be shut down.”
Lt. Rob Bakken with the Tehama County Sheriff’s Office told KRCR that the department lost about 20 employees over the past year and the number of people applying to join the department is low.
“Obviously, response times are going to be affected,” Bakken said. “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.”