The Carlton County Board of Commissioners has granted Carlton County Sheriff Kelly Lake permission to immediately post a job opening for an emergency temporary correction officer.
She said they are in desperate need of more officers, noting that overtime is required due to the shortage and burnout is a real possibility.
“We have had to cancel summer vacations,” Lake said. There are 14 overtime shifts already scheduled in October.
“Right now, we are filling every single shift with overtime and we will be until we can fill that position,” Lake said.
She explained it is more difficult because she specifically needs female officers.
“Rules require that we have both male and female staff in the secure perimeter of the jail working with inmates,” Lake said.
Jail Administrator Paul Coughlin said the Minnesota Department of Corrections' rules allow for one correction officer per 25 inmates.
“That requires us to have two correction officers (one male and one female) on each shift based on our current jail," he said.
As part of the 2020 jail budget request, the new hires will bring each shift to three correction officers, so the county can also fill the jail's control center, Coughlin said.
The jail control center position — required by the Department of Corrections — controls all doors in the jail, including the entrance and exits.
“If an incident were to happen within the facility that our correction officers were handling, the control center operator would be the position directing other responders to the facility and allowing them to gain access,” Lake explained.
Lake told the commissioners there was an unfilled position as of the end of July, which left extra money in the budget to hire an officer earlier than originally planned. She noted that the finance committee approved the job posting.
The latest jail study concluded there were four posts that should be filled at the jail.
“This will allow us to have enough staff for three posts on each shift,” Coughlin said. “With a more efficiently designed jail that utilizes podular remote supervision, we will be able to have one correction officer for every 40 inmates per the DOC rules.”
There were 10 applicants for the job posting, which closed Oct. 7.