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Kalkaska County Jail Forced to Make Big Changes Due to Staffing Shortages

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Staffing shortages are now starting to impact law enforcement.

With a lot of turnover in 2021 and officers currently in training, the Kalkaska County Sheriff’s Office had to make some tough decisions for their jail.

“We originally transferred 30 inmates and then that kind of fluctuates every day,” said Kalkaska County Sheriff Pat Whiteford. “It worked out financially, so to speak, to move those inmates out at this time.”

Four new officers are undergoing corrections training in Petoskey—leaving the county jail with very few staff members.

“It saved us about $8,000 dollars, versus sending them all downstate to do the academy,” said Whiteford.

The inmates have been transferred to the surrounding Wexford and Crawford counties.

The sheriff’s office is very thankful for their teamwork in making the process easier.

“The offices have been, for lack of a better word, amazing,” said Kalkaska County Undersheriff David Wagner. “They’ve helped us in any way they could, very accommodating—they were everything I know of law enforcement—just great.”

It’s a big ask—for those counties to take in so many extra inmates.

“You know, the jail is always one of the main areas of concern for the sheriff’s office and now you’re wanting to add on to that,” said Wagner.

The training for Kalkaska County’s jail staff will be completed in the first week of March.

“As we get into the summer here, we can find some more employees and get back up to where we need to be to maintain the jail here in Kalkaska County,” said Whiteford.

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