Ferry County struggles with deputy retention

REPUBLIC — The Ferry County Sheriff’s Office is struggling with deputy retention and is considering a proposed voter-approved public safety property tax levy that would be in in place for six years, and/or a voter-approved public safety sales tax increase of 0.3 percent.

The information comes following a series of Facebook posts outlining the department’s staffing difficulties.

At the beginning of the year, a deputy left the sheriff’s office for employment at another agency, leaving the Ferry County Sheriff’s Office with only three deputies and the undersheriff working patrol, according to the post.

“We will find it difficult to cover day shift, night shift, weekends and holidays,” officials said. “It is not an ideal situation.

According to officials, there are several reasons for the staffing shortage.

“In the past, recruiting wasn’t a major issue. People wanted to enter this profession and found Ferry County to be a good fit,” the post said. “As we pointed out, there has been a shift in public perception of law enforcement; law enforcement isn’t as attractive of a profession as it once was.”

Ferry County’s remote, rural location also makes it difficult, according to the sheriff’s office.

“So, we have to try to recruit people who this lifestyle appeals to and then retain an employer they wish to work for,” the statement said. “Therein lies the struggles of finding the balance Ferry County can afford yet remain a place where they wish to stay and work some of or all of their career.

“As the pool of candidates is decreasing, demand is increasing,” officials said.

“We are not offering bonuses for laterals as some agencies have resorted to. A lateral hire officer can fetch $5,000 from Longview, $10,000 from Moses Lake and $16,000 from

Bellevue,” the sheriff’s office said. “We do not have a recruiting budget. We’ve relied on paper advertising, social media, county website and word of mouth.

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