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DENVER (KDVR) — Metro-area law enforcement continue to report staffing shortages, with the Denver Sheriff Department now reporting 200 job openings at the county jail.

The agency describes the shortage as a critical situation.

“The worst scenario is someone gets killed inside the facility, and that’s because of our staffing levels,” Denver Sheriff FOP Lodge #27 President Michael Jackson said.

Why are police leaving the job?

The Problem Solvers are told the lack of paid holidays, poor retirement benefits and no uniform allowance are among the reasons the department is having trouble keeping staff.

Long hours are also an issue, Deputy Michael Jackson said.

“People are basically going to those agencies where they have better benefits and better pay. We can recruit people, but we can’t keep them,” Jackson said.

Aurora Police is also having trouble keeping officers.

More than 70 of them have left just this year alone. That is a much higher attrition rate than usual.

“It’s a tough time right now because of events nationwide, and in the metro area and in Aurora, there is a certain amount of negativity towards police,” Deputy Police Chief Darin Parker said.

Police said the staffing issues make it difficult to fight what are described as alarming crime rates in Aurora. Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson spoke of the troubles during a council study session Monday.

Some officers are retiring early. Others have just had enough.

“Some folks are deciding they don’t want to do this job at all anymore. Some people still want to do this job, but they want to do it for another agency,” Parker said.

That’s the same reason Denver Sheriff’s deputies are leaving the department as well.

The Denver Sheriff’s Department said 23 deputies will graduate on Friday. They will be on the job starting Monday.

Aurora police said it’s started smaller more frequent police academies.

It’s all part of an effort to get more officers on the street.

Police shortages by agency

  • Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office: 52 deputy openings
  • Boulder Police Department: 30 current police vacancies
  • Denver Police Department: 60 openings
  • Douglas County Sheriff’s Office: 10 commissioned vacancies

We are continuing to gather data from various law enforcement agencies and will add to this list as the information comes in.