Oklahoma Sheriff Needs Detention Officers - Stat!

"I'd take 75 or 80 if I could hire them."

Sheriff John Whetsel is in desperate need of people. He's running low on man power at the jail.

"The problem is finding people who want to go into law enforcement," he said. "And have a clean record."

Whetsel needs 50 detention officers and 18 clerical workers. It's a tough find when you're going up against companies that pay more. But don't think the public is in danger because not enough guards are watching the prisoners, he says.

He's shifting duties to cover the basics.

"It may take us a little bit longer to feed, it may take a bit longer to process people in, but we're providing on time medical care and on time food service," Whetsel said.

Starting pay is low at about $27,000 a year. But working 12 hour shifts means lots of free time.

"Which means they work four days and then they're off 4 days," Whetsel said.

"That could help a lot of people out," said Jon Eller, who's with the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

He sees almost 100 people who are looking for jobs every day. He says working for the county or state is a smart idea.

"It's a position that typically has good benefits, that typically is stable," Eller said. "So it's a stable employer and it's a stable pay check."

Whetsel says there aren't a lot of requirements. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or G.E.D., an Oklahoma Drivers License, and pass a background check. No applicant can have a felony conviction.

"If you have a felony warrant, it's probably not good to come down and apply," Whetsel said. "But we've had some come down and apply, and they end up in our facility rather than working for our facility."

Those hired are put through a basic academy before starting the job.

"We're just trying to get the word out," Whetsel said. "You need a job, we got a job for you."

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