Colo. Sheriff: Agency's Staffing Issues Will Get Worse Before They Get Better

March 25, 2024
Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams said he has needed to reassign patrol deputies to work jail shifts in order to keep it operational, a move that "doesn't necessarily incentivize them to stay."

Weld County Sheriff Steve Reams believes staffing issues within the Weld County Sheriff's Office will only get worse before they get better.

The sheriff's office announced Monday (March 18) that it suspended animal control services and will change their response to certain calls based on severity of the crime reported and resources available. Reams said his primary responsibility is to keep the Weld County Jail operational, and patrol deputies were reassigned to the jail to do as such.

That leaves many deputies working positions for which they weren't hired.

"When you have people working at a place that they didn't sign up to work, it doesn't necessarily incentivize them to stay," Reams said.

Reams said he has been working with the county commissioners to mitigate the problem. More than a month ago, he brought forward a proposal that would give the department everything it needed more than a month ago, he said, and it was rejected by the board.

"My agency proposed what the commissioners requested," Reams said. "They wanted to know what it would look like to make the Weld County Sheriff's Office a landing place for law enforcement personnel in northern Colorado. We provided it; they rejected it."

After some back and forth, Reams withdrew his request for funding.

The board said it still wanted to help out the agency and hosted a work session on Monday. Though they didn't provide the full amount Reams requested, the board approved mid-year supplemental funding to the sheriff's office on Monday. The board approved about $650,000 — a total Reams said was between half and three-quarters of what he requested. Ross said he anticipates the rest will be added to next year's budget.

The supplemental funding — which will raise the starting pay and top-end pay of all sworn personnel within the Sheriff's Office — also doesn't go into effect until June, leaving many deputies outside their desired roles for at least the next few months.

"If they can go somewhere right now and make more money, I'm sure they'd look instead of sticking around and waiting three months at a job they don't want to do," Reams said.

Commissioner Chair Kevin Ross said the three-month delay is simply the time it will take to get the funding in place and systems updated to accommodate the change.

The board also offered assistance in the way of hiring bonuses, but Reams declined because it did not address the crux of the issue: retention.

"That sends the message that the staff you're bringing in is more valuable than the staff you're trying to hold on to," Reams said.

Reams added that staffing issues are nothing new to the office, it just finally reached critical mass.

" The Weld County Sheriff's Office has been struggling with staffing for over two years," he said. "We've finally reached a point where a shift is required to give employees at the jail relief. I am disappointed we find ourselves here."

Reams said one of the main reasons funding has lagged behind is a compensation study — in which an outside firm will review salaries among all county agencies, give the data and recommend changes — that has also lagged.

Reams has been hearing it was coming for the past few years, he said, but it is just now underway and the results won't be known until next year.

"My agency held off on asking for salary increases for several years because we were waiting for the compensation study to happen," Reams said. "And they are finally putting that into place."

Another work session is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday to address sheriff's office funding, though Ross said additional funding likely won't be available until next year. The work session will likely also touch on how animal control calls will be handled moving forward.

"We're trying to do our best here," Ross said. "And I know he's trying to do his best, and you try to work together."


(c)2024 the Greeley Tribune (Greeley, Colo.)

Visit the Greeley Tribune (Greeley, Colo.) at

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Sponsored Recommendations

Build Your Real-Time Crime Center

March 19, 2024
A checklist for success

Whitepaper: A New Paradigm in Digital Investigations

July 28, 2023
Modernize your agency’s approach to get ahead of the digital evidence challenge

A New Paradigm in Digital Investigations

June 6, 2023
Modernize your agency’s approach to get ahead of the digital evidence challenge.

Listen to Real-Time Emergency 911 Calls in the Field

Feb. 8, 2023
Discover advanced technology that allows officers in the field to listen to emergency calls from their vehicles in real time and immediately identify the precise location of the...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Officer, create an account today!