Filling patrol officer and jail guard positions in the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department has been a priority in 2019 – however, no matter what the department tries, nothing seems to be working.

According to the latest vacancy numbers for the department, requested from the county by the Rhino Times, the number of vacant positions has now grown to 95 in the department that has about 660 employees.

As of Tuesday, Oct. 1, the Sheriff’s Department had 58 vacancies in detention positions, 32 in deputy sheriff’s positions and 5 in administration.

Vacancy numbers in the department were already alarmingly high in early September when the department faced 90 vacancies. At that time, the department had 54 detention officer vacancies, 32 deputy sheriff vacancies and 4 vacancies in administration.

And those September numbers were up from the spring. In April, there were 78 vacant positions in the Sheriff’s Department, and, at that time, many department officials were wringing their hands over the fact that the number was that high.

Then and now, department officials have been scrambling to do all they can to attract new officers. That includes holding job fairs, putting out press releases to local media to let the public know of the need – and taking other steps as well, but nothing has seemed to help.

Despite those efforts, the number of open positions has continued to grow. Many county officials are hoping that a new county pay plan, adopted last month, will help. That plan significantly upped county pay for a lot of county employees – including those in the Sheriff’s Department.