Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office losing deputies, could impact safety

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (KRON) — The Contra Costa Sheriff’s Office is losing a record number of deputies to outside counties and cities, and the fear is it could impact safety.

KRON first broke this story back in September, but on Tuesday, the sheriff went to the Board of Supervisors.

The union president told KRON their recruits dropped by 40 percent last year, and if something is not done to up their salaries, the president said it may take a very long time for deputies to get to you in an emergency.

“All’s we were are asking for is a fair wage for the job that we’re doing,” Sgt. Shawn Welch said.

Welch, the head of the deputy sheriff’s association, said the department is losing a record number of recruits and senior deputies to other counties and cities. And he said it is In large part because of low salaries.

“Ten of the agencies on that list for officers make more money than I do right now,” Welch said. “So out of ten of them, I could go as an officer somewhere else as a top-step officer and make more money.”

On Tuesday, Contra Costa Sheriff David Livingston went in front of the Board of Supervisors to voice his concerns. The department is around 15 percent below the median pay of other police agencies in the area.

County-run jails are losing the highest number of deputies. Sgt. Welch said if this continues, that could have a trickle-down effect when it comes to your safety.

“Eventually they’re going to start pulling people from patrol and those people from patrol are going to work in the jail, and you’re not going to have someone on the streets,” Welch said.

Response times to priority calls have already increased by two minutes. It is bad news that Sgt. Welch said could get worse if something is not done.

“We’re in a big hole. They’re standing up at top looking down at us,” Welch said. “They can either hand us a ladder so we can climb out, or they can hand us a shovel so we can dig deeper.”

The sheriff’s office contracts are not up until July, but there is serious concern that the department will lose more deputies if something is not done soon.