Cole County Jail adding two supervising positions

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JEFFERSON CITY – The Cole County Jail is adding two supervising positions to their team. A jail personnel was promoted to Sergeant status on Wednesday, and officials opened the promotion process for the new Corporal position as well.

The jail opened in 2011 and has a staff of 38 full-time detention deputies and jailers, and 12 part-time detention Deputies and Jailers.

Sheriff John Wheeler said they needed the extra hands.

“We’ve been having issues with manpower down at our jail since we’ve opened,” he said. “By doing this route, we go to a 12 hour shift versus the eight hour shift.”

Wheeler also said shifting the hours has its benefits.

“The twelve hour shifts, there’s more supervisors involved but we’re able to control our over time,” he said.

Wheeler said Lieutenant Tim Harlin came to him with the idea of going from an eight-hour shift to 12 hours, and there was a possibility of saving overtime hours.

Wheeler gave jail staff six months to test out the 12-hour shifts to see if they were able to save money.

“In fact, at the end of five months, I believe he was at 23 percent of his overtime budget versus the 50 percent,” he said. “I think approximately we saved a little over 20 percent of our overtime budget.”

By saving that amount of overtime, Wheeler said they were able to take that money and money from part-time hours to add the two positions without spending extra funds.

Wheeler went to the County Commissioners with the idea of new staff in June, but was met with hesitation at first.

“We’d really rather add FTE’s, full time employees, in the next years budget,” said Presiding Commissioner Sam Bushman. “The cleanest way to do it is, if you’re asking for new employees, you ask and we put it in the budget for 2018.”

Bushman said Wheeler convinced them when meeting with them a second time.

“We were kind of saying ‘Can we wait until 2018?’ Sheriff Wheeler said no and he showed us why we really couldn’t wait until 2018,” he said.

Wheeler said they are looking to recruit two new jailers to replace the jailers that are being promoted to Sergeant and Corporal.