With dangerously low staffing, Wyandotte County Jail looking for more deputies

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Capt. David Thaxton with the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office doesn’t mince words when he’s asked why people care should care about staffing shortages at the jail.

“Because this is a powder keg,” Thaxton said. “And we need to ensure that we’re conducting business as appropriately as we can. And that comes with safety, and it comes with numbers.”

And right now, the numbers are working against Thaxton at the Wyandotte County Detention Center.

The jail holds 400 inmates and can operate normally with 24 deputies on duty. But Thaxton said the roster for deputies working the jail has been depleted by an entire shift of two dozen jailers.

Thaxton admits it’s not glamorous and not for everyone. But he believes, for the right candidates, the openings are a great opportunity for anyone pursuing a career in law enforcement.

“It’s approximately $20 bucks an hour we’re going to give you,” Thaxton said. “A full benefits package and we’re going to give you 10 weeks of training to get you started in here.”

When FOX4 toured the jail with Thaxton on Thursday, the facility was in lockdown. Not because of an incident, rather because there just aren’t enough deputies to guarantee everyone’s safety.

"We’d rather not be on lockdown, but we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do, in regards to keeping the community safe,” Thaxton said.

If you’re interested in applying, you can connect with the Wyandotte County Sheriff’s Office on its Facebook page, Twitter or on the Unified Government website.

Candidates need a clean criminal record and must be over 21.

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