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Kleberg County facing jailer, medical staff shortage following CVOID-19 case surge

Sheriff Richard Kirkpatrick said he asked the Governor's office along with the State Jail Commission for help bringing in jailers. He's still waiting on an answer.

KLEBERG COUNTY, Texas — Officials in Kleberg County are asking the federal government to send medical staff along with jailers to Kingsville.

Those requests coming as COVID-19 continues to impact health care and law enforcement services in the area. The total number of active cases in Kleberg has now risen to 531.  

Kleberg County's vaccination clinic is still up and running. But, It's testing facility recently ran out of supplies and had to close down. Fortunately, it's now back open. County Judge Rudy Madrid said he's also working on shoring up the COVID-19 effort here. He's asked the federal government to send medical personnel to the hospital here and he sent a request to the state to send jailers. All because of the spike in COVID-19 cases.

"I sent in a request to FEMA for, I want to say, 15 additional healthcare providers to respond to us in Kleberg here in Kingsville," Madrid said. "Just to help them with staff. I did request for some jailers to come from the state military department to help us with our jail."

Sheriff Richard Kirkpatrick said he's asked the Governor's office along with the State Jail Commission for help in bringing in jailers. He's still waiting on an answer.

"We've asked for 15 officers to assist and we're hoping whatever the state can do we're kind of at their mercy," Kirkpatrick said.

The sheriff says his department has 17 positions open right now. So, he's had to get creative with scheduling and even brought deputies in to work in the jail.

"Yes we have pulled a couple of individuals out of patrol to assist with jail operations," Kirkpatrick said. "And what makes it difficult is some of those individuals also have to be licensed jailers."

The sheriff pointed out that that would only be a short term fix. Because if the deputies were to continue working in the jail they would have to get there Jailer's license. A more permanent fix would be to hire new jailers, and he's trying to do that by working with the Texas workforce commission and our local community colleges in trying to find folks who want to fill those jobs.

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