Below is an email I received from Commissioner Stegman after her tour of our facilities:
It was such a wonderful opportunity for me to spend the day with you and all of the fine Multnomah County Corrections Deputies that I got to see. And I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to talk to every single one of them.
I am so grateful that you were able to arrange the tour so I could hear directly from Deputies about the challenges you all face after two long years of a pandemic, staff shortages, civil unrest, and lack of support internally and externally. I’m a hands-on kind of person and think it’s really important to see things for myself.
There were so many things that I learned from the tour. I loved talking with the new generation of Deputies who were excited to do this important work after graduating with their criminal justice degrees. And their commitment to be there to make a positive difference in the lives of those who struggle. Their hope and optimism was contagious.
But I also heard from Deputies who have been there for 20-25 years, and how mandatory over-time is wreaking havoc for everyone and negatively impacting their personal lives, their mental health and creating record low morale.
It is very concerning to me that while some may choose to voluntarily work another four hours after their full eight hour shift, they may also be mandatorily required to stay an additional four hours resulting in a 16 hour shift. And that many are not even given that choice at all and are mandated to work additional hours.
I am also very concerned about the wave of deputies that will be retiring in the next few years which will put a further strain on our workforce.
I appreciate the ideas and potential solutions that I heard from you and others. Once I am elected as chair, I will create a Workforce Stability/Economic Development department. I want to make Multnomah County an employer of choice. And that means providing the wages, benefits, and culture that will attract and retain people. I also want to better connect people in our custody to more internal resources as well as connect them to outside resources when they are released. We have to stop the churning of people in and out of our systems.
I have other ideas around how scheduling and recruitment could be improved and look forward to MCCD’s input as we work together to ensure the safety and mental health of our employees and people in custody.
I am committed to this work as I know you all are too. Again thank you for this opportunity. Please share my county email address email@example.com if people want to get in touch with me regarding County issues. If they want to contact me regarding my race for the chair’s office, my personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
And most of all - thank you. Not everyone could do this work. I know I couldn’t. And I am so grateful that you all show up day after day to protect and ensure the safety of our community.
Candidate for Multnomah County Chair and
Multnomah County Commissioner, District 4