Plumas County Sheriff’s office will lose boots on the ground starting Sunday due to critical staffing levels; the sheriff says to lock your home and car doors and set up security cameras.
Sheriff Johns was forced to make the call which has been looming over the department for the last several months as deputies continue to leave for higher-paying and less demanding jobs. Johns informed the Supervisors yesterday, saying the department “will only be operating one two-man vehicle during the day and one at night.” The sheriff’s department covers the large county from Portola to Quincy to Chester, presenting the problem that if an incident happens in one end of the county, assistance will be as far away as an hour and a half if immediately able to respond. In response, Johns said efforts would be made to reach off-duty personnel and the California Highway Patrol, who has been assisting with the Chester residency position already, but that still leaves no guarantee that help would be immediately available.
And that’s not all; the department is facing a shortage in the jail with 11 current vacancies and more dispatchers set to leave, forcing the remaining staff to work 12 to 16-hour shifts. As a result, the sheriff’s office will prioritize felonies, while other calls for service will have to wait. The solution Johns feels is the need for a pay increase and shortened shifts, something the sheriff has been asking the supervisors for the last few months.
Until negotiations or another solution can be made, the sheriff’s office will monitor response levels as the new patrol plan goes into effect.