Short on staff, jail ups pay

ELLSWORTH — If you’re looking for work, the Hancock County Jail is hiring and has just increased starting pay to $17.05 an hour.

The rate had been $14.50 an hour, said Jail Administrator Timothy Richardson. “Our part-time pay rate was not attracting individuals. We moved the rate to $17.05 per hour attempting to draw interest. A majority of our part-time employee pool will be pulled into full-time status, leaving part-time openings.

“It’s not easy work,” said Hancock County Sheriff Scott Kane. Corrections officers work three 12-hour shifts and then have three days off. The shifts start at either 5 a.m. or 5 p.m. “It’s difficult. You’re dealing with a confined environment,” Kane said.

New officers need to go through a five-week training program at the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. Because of COVID-19, the training is being done online, Kane said.

The sheriff said some inmates have mental health issues and some have addiction problems. “It’s really kind of a tough job. Law enforcement is taking a hit nationwide. It’s hard to find patrol officers. It’s hard to find law enforcement.”

Kane said one of Maine’s sheriffs has closed down one of the “pods” in his jail and has begun boarding inmates at other jails because of the staffing problem. “He’s got plenty of room at the jail but can’t hire people to staff it.”

There are full time openings as well as part-time openings. Full time employees receive health insurance, including dental insurance and vision care along with vacation days and holidays.

“There’s tremendous opportunity for overtime,” Kane said. “If you’re a go-getter, there’s plenty of overtime for you to get.”

There’s opportunity for advancement as well. The jail employs sergeants and corporals.

“If you have the desire, we’d love to see you,” said Kane.

If you’re interested in learning more, contact Richardson or Lt. Frank Shepard at 667-7588. 

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.
Jennifer Osborn

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