NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KETK) – East Texas law enforcement is still trying to beat the nationwide officer shortage.

“We’re just really out of options,” said Sheriff Jason Bridges, Nacogdoches County.

Bridges says it’s an issue for their current staff.

“It hurts morale to a degree, I mean people are just having to work all the time,” said Bridges.

The county jail is full and without enough correctional officers, they have to evaluate how they can continue to take more inmates.

“We have to have so many jailers per inmate ratio, so it’s 1 to 48,” said Bridges.

The Nacogdoches Police Department is looking for 10 employees and applications just aren’t coming in.

“The main primary focus is always going to be our response times and getting people the services that they deserve,” said  Sgt. Brett Ayres, Nacogdoches PD Communications.

Sgt. Brett Ayres says it’s even affecting their 911 dispatchers.

“They are the lifeline between whenever you pick up the phone and call 911 and emergency services whether it be the fire department, the sheriff’s department, police department,” said Ayres.

Brian Bathke with the Henderson Police Department says things have really changed due to how people see the police and COVID.

“it just seems like there’s not the pool of applicants that there was 5, 10 years ago, much less when we all started 25 and 30 years ago,” said Brian Bathke, Support Services Lieutenant.

Agencies have advertised more than before, offered more money, and are recruiting outside the state to try and bring more people in.

“I don’t ever remember working this hard to reach the areas that we are trying,” said Bathke.

Law enforcement officials hope they can find the help they need soon.

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