EAST WENATCHEE — Douglas County sheriff’s deputies “are scrambling to handle calls in a timely manner” since losing three deputies in the past month, said Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal.
“Shifts are going short-staffed, coverage is being drawn in from the outer areas, late-night patrols are being cut back and we’re spending a lot of money in overtime,” Gjesdal said on Thursday.
He doesn’t see improvement for at least eight months, while new deputies are hired and trained.
One sergeant quit the department, a deputy went to work for the Wenatchee Police Department and one deputy was terminated, Gjesdal said. He said he could not talk about the termination because it involved a personnel matter.
The department had been operating with 24 deputies, including Gjesdal. Because of a tight budget, that was down from a high of 30 a few years ago. “The problem with working with a bare minimum staff is there is no buffer at all and, when things happen, you’re automatically in trouble,” he said.
Gjesdal said deputies will continue to prioritize calls, with calls involving weapons and physical violence going to the top of the list.