Supervisor Addresses Sheriff’s Office Latest Staffing Announcement


As staffing challenges persist, the Plumas County Sheriff’s office makes the staggering announcement that it has been forced to operate with just a single swing shift patrol unit.
Already limited for the entire county, Sheriff Todd Johns forewarned of this situation back in July, pleading to the board of supervisors multiple times to prioritize negotiations with the employee’s bargaining unit so he can retain his staff.

Johns emphasized he has been stretching his employees to their limits since earlier this year, with dispatchers, corrections, and deputies working 12-hour shifts six days a week. He says he continues to lose dedicated employees to higher-paying job opportunities that can offer regular working hours.

According to county data, a sheriff’s deputy fresh out the gate starts at 21.52 cents and can top out at just over 26 dollars an hour.

What the new swing shift for the sheriff’s office will mean for the county is possible delays to emergency response, as when the deputies are off duty, there will be no units on patrol. In the announcement, the department says it is “regrettable” as those on duty are forced to staff the jail, a state requirement of the Sheriff’s office.

The change will also mean emergencies will also need to be prioritized. Though the sheriff’s office says emergency calls will continue to be a top priority, dispatch will have to assess each situation to provide the most urgent assistance as quickly as possible.

To confirm, 9-1-1 calls will continue to be answered as they are already set to be redistributed to assisting county dispatch centers.

Chairperson for the County Board of Supervisors Greg Hagwood and former Plumas Sheriff himself calls this a troubling set of circumstances.

The county is currently in the audit process of reconciling the last two fiscal years. Hagwood confirmed there have been many factors that have led the county to this status. Adding that progress is being made on the budget, but there is still a “tremendous amount of work to be done.” He added that negotiations with the Sheriff’s employees are hindered as the county’s ability to negotiate without “a clear and concise understanding” of where the financials stand is challenging.

When asked if the board has prioritized the Sheriff’s office, Hagwood said, “Public safety in Plumas County needs to be prioritized as it is the county’s/primary function.” The board has done better now with this than in the recent past. Hagwood also said he recognizes the community’s concerns about an uptick in crime and that the board will discuss with Johns to weigh alternative options to the current proposed schedule.

Hagwood also assures that he is “relatively confident that the county will offer something significant to the sheriff’s employees, as they are actively pursuing those remedies despite other delays and complications.”

Although this topic will not be an agendized item at the upcoming September 5th board meeting, Hagwood says a board member could motion it into an emergency item to be discussed.

The board meets in the Quincy courthouse at 10 a.m. promptly following the long holiday weekend.