SWEETWATER COUNTY– Since the election, Sweetwater County Sheriff John Grossnickle has been working to improve the efficiency in how the Sheriff’s Office operates, while also trying to cut personnel costs in their budget.
Sheriff Grossnickle set out to remove the “top-heaviness” of the department by removing executive staff positions, and instead create more efficient supervision by adding personnel to lower ranks.
According to Grossnickle, none of the Sheriff’s Office personnel will be removed or let go, but rather are being moved around.
Patrol Division Reorganization
The Sheriff’s Office is adding an Undersheriff, or a deputy sheriff, and is removing the Captain positions to help remove the top-heaviness.
One Lieutenant will be added, giving the patrol division two Lieutenants. One will be Lieutenant of Patrol Operations. The other will be used in special operations such as search and rescue, emergency management, and detective work.
Two Sergeants will be adding, increasing the number from two to four. There will be four patrol crews all working their own shift, so this allows each crew to have its own Sergeant.
Two detective/investigators are being added so that there is a more dedicated investigation department. A Public Information Officer is also being added.
The corporal rank is being eliminated, as Grossnickle and County Human Resource Director Garry McLean said the corporals are an unnecessary position. Corporal is often known as a “training officer rank”. McLean said with a Sergeant on each crew, corporals are redundant and actually cause confusion in the command structure.
The patrol deputies are being reduced from 21 to 17. This makes it so each crew has four patrol deputies, and there will be a resident deputy in Farson.
In civilian positions, the Sheriff’s office will add one person to a clerical position. The investigation assistant position is being combined with the administrative assistant.
In the Patrol Division, the number of positions is being decreased from 50 to 47, giving the Sheriff’s Office a cost saving of $344,645.21.
Patrol is Expected to Be More Efficient
Commissioner Randy Wendling asked Grossnickle if the Sheriff’s Office will be able to cover patrol areas as well with a decrease in patrol officers. Sheriff Grossnickle said the coverage will be even better, as there will be four crews, and four shifts.
With four deputies working each shift, he said they will be able to work more efficiently, and crews will be more reliable. He assured the commissioners that the four crews will ensure there is 24-hour coverage.
Detention Center Reorganization
Just like in the Patrol Division, the Captain rank will be eliminated in the Detention Center. This will help in removing the administrative heaviness in the Sheriff’s Office.
The Lieutenant position will stay at one, while two Sergeants will be added, increasing the position from 4 to 6 people. As of now, the corporal rank will stay at 3 positions, however this rank will eventually be eliminated.
The Detention Officers will remain at 23 people.
One control room worker will be eliminated, while one food service worker will be added.
In total, the Detention Center will go from 48 positions to 49, with a cost consequence of $102,154.10.
With the Detention Center’s cost consequence and the Patrol Division’s cost saving combined, the reorganization of the Sheriff’s Office will save $242,491.11 in its personnel budget.
How Soon Will the Reorganization be Implemented?
The commissioners were curious as to how soon these changes within the department will be implemented. McLean said some of the changes will be implemented immediately, while others will take a bit longer.
For some of the changes, promotional interviews will need to be conducted, which could take a few months. However, with the commissioners’ unanimous approval of this reorganization, the Sheriff’s Office will begin implementing the changes immediately.
Chairman Wally Johnson said the Sheriff’s initiative to make these changes without being prompted to by the commissioners or a budget cut is “admirable”.