CHESTER, S.C. (WBTV) - Chester County Sheriff Max Dorsey is increasing recruitment efforts due to 24 vacancies within his department.
According to Sheriff Dorsey, he is short 13 deputies, 10 corrections officers, and one dispatcher. The shortages are putting a strain on his employees since many are picking up extra shifts or working with fewer resources.
According to Dorsey, a full shift of patrol officers should have about seven deputies. Lately there have been shifts with only three or four deputies to cover 580 square miles.
“It reduces the response time in calls for service,” Dorsey said. “It reduces the officers presence int eh community where they could serve as a deterrent.”
Dorsey made structural changes to the pay scale so that all employees with the same rank, are paid the same amount. The restructuring freed up money from the Sheriff’s Office budget so deputies could get a nearly $2,000 raise.
“It is not as high as Lancaster and York Counties, and I realize that,” Dorsey said. “But it is competitive considering we are much smaller.”
Now Dorsey is trying to implement a new culture within the department. He hopes a more positive work environment will attract more candidates, even if the salary falls short of what neighboring counties offer.
“That culture is built on building people up, providing positive leadership and holding people accountable to high standards,” Dorsey said.
The Chester County Council approved a request by Sheriff Dorsey on Monday night to dedicate an employee in his staff to focus on recruitment and department policies.
He says policies within the department need to be updated and clarified to staff.
According to Sheriff Dorsey, before he was sworn in, the previous administration came to an agreement with the county to put a hiring freeze on some positions. The freeze meant the Sheriff’s office couldn’t fill those vacant spots, but the money for those positions could be allocated to other employees as a raise.
According to Sheriff Dorsey, the agreement expires in July of 2020. The 24 vacancies the department has now do not include the frozen positions under this agreement.