Adult Probation Office sees security shortage

McLENNAN COUNTY, Texas - More than 3,000 people are on probation in McLennan County. The department working with them all says they are short-staffed to enforce them all.

The county's Adult Probation Office is dealing with a security shortage. They are asking deputies for help while also asking for cash to hire their own full-time officers.

McLennan County commissioners met at the County Courthouse on Tuesday. One of the discussion topics was how to get off-duty deputies to work for them and not do private detail jobs. This left one department scrambling for help.

Security should be a top priority at the county's Adult Probation Office. 

"A lot of people that come through there are offenders," says Chief Deputy David Kilcrease. "A lot of those offenders are actually wanted at the time that they come through there."

But there has been a shortage of available officers lately.

Adult Probation Office Director Chip Seigman says the staff cannot afford to keep them on the job. 

"Now the pay for off-duty police officers in the private sector is so much that we can't compete," he says.

To fill the gap, the county Sheriff's Office has been providing extra manpower - with two local deputies filling the positions temporarily. 

"Right now, the best thing we can do is just fill the hole until they figure out what they need to do and how to repair it," Seigman says.

On Tuesday, the Probation Department asked county commissioners for $32,000. This is enough to put two full-time deputies on staff.

"It costs approximately $120,000 with salary-infringe benefits for two deputies," Seigman says.

Department management says they are willing to cover the rest of the costs for the long-term benefits. 

"By having officers on location, I won't have to call officers out of the field to come and transport people to jail that need to go," Kilcrease says.

County commissioners will still have to vote whether or not to approve the budget proposal. In the meantime, the Probation Department still has those deputies on loan from the Sheriff's Department.


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