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Another Correctional Officer is arrested and few are interested in the tough job

Calhoun County Sheriff explains the latest arrest and staffing challenges
Six charged in conspiracy to bring drugs into Calhoun County Jail
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 7:14 PM CDT
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CALHOUN COUNTY, Ala. (WBRC) - Six people are now charged in a conspiracy to bring drugs into the Calhoun County jail. The Sheriff says one of them, is one of his very own guards. Still, the local sheriff isn’t shying away from the truth.

Sheriff Matthew Wade stressed that citizens must have faith in their Sheriff as an honest broker, and secondly, he wants this to be a deterrent for any officer that is contemplating this type of criminal behavior.

“I won’t tolerate or hide it. I will always bring them to justice as I have done in the past.”

Sadly, this isn’t the first time Sheriff Wade has had to arrest a correctional officer, and he stresses they are having trouble finding quality individuals who are willing to take on this tough job.

“Pierre Jones (arrested former correctional officer) has not been with us a month, maybe a month and a half and during that course of time he did a lot of damage. It came to our attention that he might possibly be bringing in contraband.”

This is the sixth correctional officer Sheriff Wade has had to arrest since October 2016, but he stresses many are still doing an incredible job. The problem is right now it seems no one wants to work as a correctional officer.

“Right now, we are about half staffed and the people we do have are younger people. The pay, I don’t know what the magic number is, but it is not what we are paying. We can’t fill our ranks and not having someone watch an inmate, a murderer or bad people, that is just not an option.”

Sheriff Wade says his office has visited several job fairs and is actively recruiting, but interest remains low.

“There is a lot of times there is absolutely zero applicants.”

Sheriff Wade says starting pay for a correctional officer in Calhoun County is 14.70 an hour, and that number simply isn’t incentivizing workers.

“The standards are gold. They are set fourth by the US Constitution the US Supreme Court. We can’t lower those standards, but we don’t have the tools we need to even come close to meeting them.”

Sheriff Wade says things must change but until things get worse, he fears this will remain the status quo. He also says it will only get tougher to further train or raise that number after the legislature’s decision to remove pistol permits from the sheriff’s jurisdiction.

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