Jail still facing staffing shortages despite big recruiting class

Fayette County Detention Center says it has a recruiting class of 15, but is still 111 understaffed

LEXINGTON, KY. (WTVQ) – For the past six months, we’ve been telling you about the staffing shortage at the Fayette County Detention Center. While the jail says they’re still understaffed, they are looking at their biggest recruiting class in a long time with several new hires, set to start in the coming weeks.

The Fayette County Detention Center has been plagued with a staffing shortage for years but in the past six months, it’s turned into a chronic problem.

“Some of the stuff that’s happened recently with COVID and stuff like that has made it a little bit worse than what I’ve seen in the past but very rarely have we been, as they would say, fully staffed,” says Major Matt LeMonds.

The detention center says it’s not unique to Fayette county, that it’s a problem jails across the country face.

“There is no magic button to press and say ‘now you’re staffed’, but how do we best run the facility with the current staffing,” says LeMonds.

LeMonds says the National Institute of Corrections will visit the jail this month to address ways to deal with the shortage, which right now is 111 workers. The good news? 15 new hires will fill vacant positions, in what LeMonds calls the biggest recruiting class the jail’s seen in a while.

“That’s a step in the right direction,” says LeMonds. “So, we’re trending hopefully in the right direction.”

Some jailers say despite the size of the current recruiting class, it doesn’t change the fact that they’re still over 100 people short staffed. Some jailers say that the overtime is really starting to wear on them.

“There is some optimism but there’s also that fear of how many are going to stay when they do have to do the rounds of overtime when they get out of the academy,” says Corporal Michael Harris. “There’s a lot of angst, a lot of anger, a lot of questions. You know, where is help coming? When is help coming?”

Harris says it’s not the job he’s upset about but the workload they’re being forced to take on, coupled with the people he says continually have an opinion on how the jail should be run without seeing it firsthand.

For information on how to apply to be a corrections officer, you can click on the link HERE.

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