Denton County continues to respond to staffing shortages seen in its detention officer positions, a trend that has been seen regionally and nationally.

Denton County Commissioners Court unanimously approved deleting five full-time detention officer positions during a March 7 meeting. Ten part-time positions were created with the same order, according to the commissioners court agenda.

County Judge Andy Eads said this is a continuation of working with the Denton County Sheriff’s Office to look at different ways to attract and retain county detention officers.

“We’re at a critical, a very critical juncture in our staffing with the sheriff’s office—not only here in Denton County, but it’s actually a national trend that we’re dealing with,” he said.

These shortages, which have been seen in Collin, Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties, have been, in part, the result of a growing job market with more competitive salaries, according to data from Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas.

In Denton County, the sheriff’s office is creating temporary part-time positions as a way to attract retirees or people who do not need full-time work. Commissioners also approved about a 15% pay raise for employees working at the jail last fall.
The new positions will allow employees to work two 12-hour shifts per week or three eight-hour shifts per week for no more than 30 hours per week.

The positions are expected to cost a prorated amount of $5,323 in the 2022-23 fiscal year and $8,291 in the 2023-24 fiscal year.

“This is just one of our many steps that we’re taking as a court in partnership with the sheriff’s office,” Eads said.