DELAWARE COUNTY, MO.--- "It's a mountain, but all I can do is keep working at it," states Harlan Moore, Delaware County Sheriff.
Delaware County Sheriff, Harlan Moore says retaining employees is an uphill battle. At least 6 people have quit in the last 2 months, more than 10% of the staff.
"To my recollection, the people who worked here in the past, I can't recall anyone retiring from this sheriff's office after 20 years," states Moore.
Moore says it all boils down to the department not being able to offer competitive pay.
"I'm in training mode all the time and I'm in hiring mode all the time," states Sheriff Moore.
The sheriff points out, it's costing him thousands of dollars to train each new employee, money he'd rather spend on raises.
"I've had employees leave who really loved working over here, but they can't feed their families.They had to make the tough decision to leave and go somewhere else so they can make more money," states Moore.
Moore says the high turnover rate needs to stop. He's been working hard reviewing his expense reports to cut costs.
"We were paying around $22,000 a year on just cell phones. We developed a new plan through Virizon, our carrier, and cut that bill in half," states Moore.
He's also taking the issue up with lawmakers.
"I've talked to local legislators about the laws in the books for sheriffs in Oklahoma," says Moore.
That will help Sheriff Moore identify exactly what expense he's allowed to cut. He says patience is key.
"It takes time to go through the process of doing the investigation to find out what you can do and what you can't do to increase your cash fund, so that you can do something with that cash fund towards the employees," states Moore.
Sheriff Moore says he will apply for a few equipment and extra patrolling grants next year. If he gets them, money saved that would ordinarily pay for equipment or enforcement will go to increase pay. He adds providing good pay means a better sheriff's department for the public.