Kern County Detention Workers Are Leaving in Droves

Twenty-nine Kern County detention deputies have called it quits since the start of the year, igniting a staffing crisis that the union says requires immediate resolution.

The reason for the shortage is clear, according to the Kern County Detention Officers Association. The association describes Kern County’s detention workers as “overworked and underpaid.”

About 240 deputies currently oversee 2,000 inmates in Kern County. KCDOA public information officer Joe Pilkington says there should be about 300 deputies. Many of them are leaving for higher pay.

"A detention deputy will top out at approximately $27 an hour. You can go to the state of California and top at approximately $46 an hour," explained one of the deputies, Julian Trevino. Many of them are working seven days a week or 16-hour days, KCDOA says.

"If this county doesn't fund their public safety competitively, other counties and cities are happy to take people we hire on and train," added Pilkington.

As a result of the shortage overtime pay is also up, further squeezing taxpayer funds.

KCDOA says it hopes to work with Sheriff Donny Youngblood to find a solution to the problem.

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