Ward County commissioners voted today to hire two new sheriff's deputies a month early to help build up the force.
Captain Bob Barnard asked commissioners to speed up the hiring from the first of the year to now, so he could hire a veteran officer who will require less training.
The new hires will expand the size of the sheriff's department staff from 23 to 25 and allow the department to increase the number of deputies on patrol from the current 14 to 16.
Barnard says the additions are a big help.
(Capt. Bob Barnard, Ward County Sheriff's Department) "We're not ahead but we do feel as though we're catching up. Our goal is to maintain a workforce that can serve the public in Ward County well and that's what we're trying to achieve."
In the jail, there are also new hires coming on board in the new year to deal with the inmate population explosion.
(Capt. Bob Barnard, Ward County Sheriff's Department) "The jail is an issue. The jail staffing has not changed in many years and as most people know the population at the jail is at the maximum most of the time. So the jail has received permission from the commission to add four additional employees in 2013."
The new hires will bring the jail staff to 32 as of 2013.