FORT SCOTT, Kans. — In a time of staffing shortages, employee retention continues to be an issue many organizations face.

For one community, this has been having an impact on local law enforcement.

“I have been short-staffed for probably the last couple of years. I cannot remember the last time I was fully staffed,” said Bob Reed, Bourbon County Sheriff’s Office.

Typically, the Bourbon County Jail is maintained by 16 different employees. Next week, however, the sheriff’s office will be hitting a roadblock.

“Down to eight employees. So that’s half of my allotted staff that I cannot fill positions. I do not have any applications,” said Reed.

Now, the sheriff’s office is focusing on restructuring how they run the jail in order to maintain the safety of both its employees and inmates.

So far, its sent 57 inmates to other centers across the state, including Allen, Cherokee, and Wilson counties.


“It’s a logistic nightmare for me because the inmates that we still currently have, even though they’re farmed out, they have court dates. Some of them have to because of their constitutional rights, be in front of a judge. So, with the staff that I have, I’m still going to have to try and man it the best that I can, and then turn around and also go get these other inmates and do transports and stuff too and from court. We may look at a few things differently as far as arrests, but there are also mandatory arrests that we have to make. I don’t know what the answer is but we’ve got to start somewhere. I’m hoping that between the sheriff and I, and our Bourbon County commissioners, and our finance director, we can all come up with a solution for the better,” said Reed.