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Sheriff Youngblood to ask Board of Supervisors for help in funding the deputy recruitment process

Posted at 8:47 PM, Aug 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-15 23:48:03-04

Three weeks after the Kern County Board of Supervisors denied Sheriff Donny Youngblood's tax proposal, he'll be going in front of them again.

On Tuesday morning, Youngblood will be asking supervisors for $1.3 million dollars to help fund the next Kern County Sheriff's Academy.

The department is projecting that they'll lose 55 or 56 personnel over the next 18 months. This estimate was made based on past years and the current state of the department. Contributing factors include termination and transfers out of KCSO.

"It speaks volumes that we lost 35 qualified deputy sheriffs who were working here full time to other agencies over the last 18 months," Youngblood said.

Tomorrow's meeting with supervisors allows Youngblood to try to find funding to replace those deputies who are leaving. Roughly 100 vacancies currently exist within KCSO; if he's not given the money, Youngblood says that much more could exist by next year.

"If we don't fix this tomorrow, we are going to be in a really bad way come next budget year."

One repercussion of budget cuts is mandatory overtime, something that Youngblood mentioned. David Kessler, an employee of KCSO and the president of the Kern Law Enforcement Association, estimates that overtime is happening every single day.

"When you're always telling someone that they're staying over, that wears on someone after a time, and that's not a good thing," Kessler said.

Kessler said that some deputies are having to work shifts that extend well past their scheduled hours, and he fears for the collateral damage that it can have on employees.

"It's about the human toll and the human factor, and actually taking care of the employees to have a good place to work," he said.

Another victim of budget cuts is the Regional Training Center down the street from KCSO headquarters. Youngblood says the program may have to move back to their headquarters on Norris Road; a smaller facility means that graduating classes will be smaller.

Even if given the money, Youngblood estimates that the academy will not produce enough qualified recruits to fill the 56 spots expected to be vacated.

"We're going to worse off a year from today, or 18 months from today, than we are right now. That's just the way it pans out," Youngblood said.

"But it's going to be catastrophic if we don't do this."

Youngblood will present during the 9 a.m. Board of Supervisors meeting.