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  • overtime anyone?

    The Harris County Sheriff's Office plans to pay deputies to work overtime to cover for dozens of vacancies in the patrol division as county administrators begin studying the controversial contract deputy program, according to e-mails obtained Tuesday by the Houston Chronicle.

    A Chronicle analysis of the program this month found the county immediately filled deputy positions paid for by civic associations and municipal utility districts even though about a fifth of the department's 352 regular patrol slots remained vacant.

    At the request of Commissioner Sylvia Garcia, Commissioners Court voted Tuesday to ask Budget Officer Dick Raycraft to study the sheriff's contract deputy program and similar ones run by the county's eight constables. Garcia has said she would block any new or expanded contracts until the study is completed.

    Deputies will begin working overtime Sunday in four-hour blocks to cover the vacant shifts, according to an e-mail Capt. Lanny Hitchcock wrote to supervisors on Monday.

    Deputies may volunteer to work two four-hour overtime shifts on their days off and one on their regular work days. If there are not enough volunteers, mandatory overtime shifts will be assigned, according to another e-mail from a district supervisor to deputies.

    Lt. John Legg, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Department, said discussions have taken place about changing the overtime policy, but no decisions have been made. Chief Deputy Danny Billingsley, who oversees patrol, was not available Tuesday to discuss the plans.

    The plans being discussed call for the force to work at least 1,600 to 2,000 hours of overtime a week, Legg said. With overtime pay rates ranging from about $28.50 an hour for new deputies to about $42 for the most senior veterans, the program could cost between about $46,000 and $84,000 a week.

    Deputy Bob Goerlitz, a board member of the Harris County Deputies' Organization, said he and his colleagues are thrilled about the change because it will put more men on the street to tackle crime and provide backup in dangerous situations.

    But he called the idea a stopgap measure that will not solve the department's pressing manpower issues.

    "Overtime to fill those spots is one thing, but actually having the bodies, the people, to fill those positions is a much better solution," he said.

    When asked about the potential for officer burnout, Goerlitz said he only would be concerned if the program continued unabated for many months. He said he expects morale to improve in the short term because having more officers to handle the regular calls should free up time for proactive police work.

    Under the existing system, he said, regular patrol officers are so swamped with emergency calls they cannot even attempt to conduct drug busts or crack down on gangs and prostitution.

    The department's contract deputy program allows civic associations, school districts and municipal utility districts to pay the county to have deputies assigned to specific areas or neighborhoods rather than larger patrol districts that may include dozens of subdivisions.

    The Forest Cove subdivision hired the first contract sheriff's deputy in the early 1970s. Since then, the sheriff's program has grown to more than 250 deputies working 119 contracts. As of this spring, the county's eight elected constables had about 600 contract deputies assigned to about 200 contracts.

    Groups that want to hire a contract deputy generally pay the county nearly $56,000 a year, which covers about 70 percent of an officer's salary and benefits. The deputy is supposed to devote 70 percent of his or her working hours to patrolling the contract area.

    Billingsley last month blamed the non-contract staffing shortages on recruiting challenges being experienced by law enforcement agencies nationwide. But he said vacant contract positions are given priority because the county has signed contracts promising to provide coverage.

    [email protected]

    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/5901772.html
    ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
    Oscar Wilde

  • #2
    Hey if they are hiring Ill come test Ill go anywhere
    All is 10-61 here you can show me 10-8!

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    • #3
      THe only fault I find in this piece is that some work 10 hours and some already are 12 hours.
      that was never put in there. HCSO needs to do some serius out reach recurting. Dallas PD is running ads and having billboards up here- why not do that somewhere else to.
      That said. HCSO needs a more "recruiting friendly" practice. as it is now, you do everything ver the net, and never speak to a person untill you are being called in. that is not a good thing.
      ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
      Oscar Wilde

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Papapump51 View Post
        Hey if they are hiring Ill come test Ill go anywhere
        come on. they need people badly!
        ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
        Oscar Wilde

        Comment


        • #5
          I have never understood the concept of using mass over time to cover a manning short fall. In the long run it is way more expensive then to hire several people (officers in this case) and get them trained up, as a temp thing until people can be put in place but the figure of 46, 000-84, 000 A WEEK is I would guess the average yearly salary for 1 officer, I am thinking they might want to look into lateral transfers with an abbreviated academy, and as stated a recruiting program outside of the local area. I am sure there budget is like all over the country very tight and this seems like a waste of valuable resources, not to mention burn out for the officers, once burn out sets in it will cost even more in lost time. But what ever the Sherriff’s decision is hopefully safety for the officer is #1, with safety for the public as a close #2. I would love to here the thoughts of the officers effected about al this, not the crap the Media is putting out but an honest assessment.
          It could be that the purpose of your life is only to serve as a warning to others.

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          • #6
            Texaschickee - I just sent in my info on the site - so Hope to hear from them and I also sent you a PM - I will say that if they do everything over the net that is not good we all still love talking to people! - and in my case I would be coming 1000 miles for your dept and I would really like to have a relationship with someone over there for questions, testing issues etc. instead of winging it so to speak...but Ill keep you posted.
            All is 10-61 here you can show me 10-8!

            Comment


            • #7
              the biggest probelm with HCSO is tht everyone starts off in the jail. never do they go stright to the streets.
              they work detention and then the academy...
              then the streets so hired today, your looking at least 2 to 3 years before patrol.
              ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
              Oscar Wilde

              Comment

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