Hanson County Sheriff's Office tight on staff after new hire

ALEXANDRIA, S.D. (AP) - The Hanson County Sheriff's Office remains understaffed, even though there are more full-time law enforcement officers today than ever before.

Deputy Brandon Wingert began working full-time in Alexandria in September, marking the first time the sheriff's office has employed two deputies at the same time. But even with a sheriff and two deputies, Sheriff Randy Bartlett says the office is still short-handed.

The office works on eight-hour shifts, but the officers often work for longer and must be ready to respond to calls for service 24 hours per day. Bartlett says the deputies don't get nights or holidays off.

Bartlett says many sheriff's departments in South Dakota are in the same predicament as more than 80 percent have fewer than five officers.

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