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LMDC rolls out new recruitment efforts to fight staffing shortages

Jail leaders said they are short around 100 officers out of 359 total officer positions.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Facing ongoing staffing issues, leaders at Metro Corrections are taking two new steps to bring in more help. Right now, they say they have about 100 vacancies out of 359 total officer positions. 

Jail Director Jerry Collins said they are rolling out two new recruitment tools. 

First, lateral transfers from other corrections departments are now allowed. Officers can come work at LMDC as long as they have two years of experience. 

Collins said officers would be paid on LMDC's pay scale for their experience, up to 10 years. That means they could start at as much as $24.78/hour. 

“Corrections officers traditionally around the state and local states are underpaid so that would be a reduced academy, training," Collins said. “We’re kind of looking around the state but also in other states.”

Second, retired officers can now come back to the force to work in transportation positions, like assisting with hospital runs. Collins said that allows other officers to stay inside LMDC.

“Push all those officers back in the jail so that’s a force multiplier in itself," he said.

Collins said starting pay for those officers would be at least $21.75/hour.

There are 10 retiree positions available and 30 lateral transfers.

Collins said there are also 12 officers in the academy pipeline. He'd like to see a total of 40 from all three categories join Metro Corrections soon. 

“Since I’ve came, to be steady and not lose more than we’re bringing in, which sounds amazing that that’s something, but it is," Collins said. "Now we want to put a dent in our vacancies.”

The recruitment changes come after other adjustments since Collins became director earlier in spring 2022.

He took the role after former director Dwayne Clark retired, facing a vote of "no confidence" from Metro Council. 

Since then, LMDC added a body scanner and K9 unit to cut down on drugs, after a rash of overdoses and deaths at the facility

Metro Council President David James (D-6) helped lead the charge for new leadership at the jail. He said the recruitment efforts from LMDC are a step in the right direction. 

“It’s very frustrating knowing that metro government had been asking for these changes for years," he said. "Considering the circumstance that Metro Corrections finds itself in, these are really smart ideas to do," he said. 

James added there are more changes needed, including major upgrades to the downtown jail.

“It’s a converted MSD building, so ultimately it will be important to look at getting a new facility for Metro Corrections," James said. 

Collins said he has other ideas for improvements, some coming after a recent city symposium on justice

He said he wants to improve transparency between LMDC and the community. 

“This isn't my jail or my staff’s jail, it’s the community jail, so we invite the community in," he said. 

Metro Corrections is holding an on-site hiring event Saturday, Aug. 27 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

It will be at the training facility at 2911 Taylor Boulevard. 

You can find listings of open positions at LMDC here.  

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