YC Sheriff can’t find jailers, permanently closing jail

The Yuma County Jail is closed for business.
Sheriff Todd Combs announced late last week that the jail is permanently closed, due to an ongoing staffing shortage.

“Due to the inability of the Sheriff’s Office to hire qualified jail staff, for the seven plus open positions at the Commissioners set salary of $18 an hour, I have decided to close the jail facilities in Wray. The Logan County Jail in Sterling will be holding inmates for Yuma County for the foreseeable future,” wrote in a statement published last Thursday, June 1.
The Yuma County Commissioners — Scott Weaver, Mike Leerar and Adam Gates — held a work session this past Tuesday morning to discuss the situation. They are not making a public comment about it at this time.
They are in the process of setting up a public meeting with Sheriff Combs. The date and time had not been determined as of press time.
Staffing at the jail has been an ongoing issue for the past two years.
Combs first alerted the commissioners of the situation in February 2022. He said hourly wages for jailers was not even competitive for a number of other entry level jobs, and provided a long list of such jobs. He also stated it is an extremely difficult job, and people could make as much, or more, money working in a less-stressful environment.
It was at that time he first stated closing the jail is a real possibility. Combs presented a salary structure with starting pay for entry level at $18 per hour.
Nothing was done in regards to wages, and Combs met with the commissioners last September to discuss closing of the jail.
In October, full-time operations at the Yuma County Jail were suspended due to falling below minimum staffing requirements.
It remained open as a holding facility for recent arrests, as well as transports back and forth from other facilities for court dates. Combs stated at that time that a starting wage for a jail deputy should be $20 per hour.
The commissioners settled on a starting wage of $18 per hour for the 2023 fiscal year in an effort to get the jail fully staffed and return to full-time operations
However, Combs reported last week that he has been unable to hire the seven to eight qualified individuals in order to reopen the jail, deciding to permanently close the jail.