Stanly County Sheriff’s Office assists Montgomery during staff shortage

Published 2:31 pm Friday, September 15, 2023

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By Tammy Dunn, Montgomery Herald

Over the past few months Montgomery County residents might have noticed a number of officers from the Stanly County Sheriff’s Office in the county. Early on and continuing, these more experienced officers were assisting in the training of officers from the Montgomery Sheriff’s Office. As of late, that role has moved into assisting with actual case work due to the officer shortage that the county continues to face.

When asked about the assistance Montgomery County Sheriff Pete Herron said, “The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, like many other law enforcement agencies across our state and nation, is facing officer shortages. The pipeline of students enrolling in BLET has slowed down and recruiting students to fill vacancies is competitive with larger agencies able to offer a much higher starting salary.”

With the current shortage of detectives in the department, cases that require more than taking a report, are one area that Stanly County is assisting the county in. Currently Montgomery is down four detectives, one SRO position and one patrol position; however, there are three officers out on leave due to injuries, one of which is long-term and the other two are expected to return soon.

Herron reported his plan to fill those positions.

“We currently are in the process of hiring someone for the open patrol position. Once that open patrol position is filled a current patrol officer will be promoted to fill one of the open detective positions,” Herron said. “We have reached out to two other law enforcement officers and offered them detective positions and we are currently waiting for a response from them.

“The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office has two jail employees currently enrolled in the BLET program at MCC and upon graduation will fill deputy positions at the Sheriff’s Office,” Herron added. “We are the sponsoring agency for five other students in the class and are in hopes of employing some of these students once they graduate BLET. We are actively recruiting BLET students from other surrounding BLET programs to fill vacancies. This has been a challenge competing with larger law enforcement agencies.”

Herron said the current solution to the shortage is not costing the county, stating that Stanly County officers are being paid and that their role is only to assist.

“The number of hours varies from day to day and week to week depending on activity. There is no mileage being paid by Montgomery County and Stanly County deputies are driving their assigned Stanly County vehicles,” Herron said. “While working under mutual aid in Montgomery County, Stanly County nor any other County is drawing their own warrants or charges unless a certain situation would require that. Stanly County’s role is assisting, and the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office is issuing criminal charges and producing prosecution packets to the District Attorney’s office for prosecution. The mutual aid agreement covers criminal and narcotics investigations on a short time basis to ensure that our citizens’ and victims’ needs are met and addressed in a timely manner. Stanly County deputies are not in Montgomery County uniforms. Stanly County deputies identify themselves with proper credentials, and every effort is made to ensure a Montgomery County deputy is with them to avoid any confusion.”

When asked if he had reached out to the towns for assistance he replied, “Some Montgomery County deputies are working extra hours and in emergency situations on an as needed basis. The hours they work vary from day to day and week to week depending on the activity level, deputies earn compensatory leave for hours worked over. Local towns are dealing with officer shortages and don’t have the manpower to assist us on a day-to-day basis. We have one local officer that assists us on his days off as needed in a reserve part-time deputy status. He is paid by the Sheriff’s Office budget for hours worked.”