Pierce County Corrections chief at odds with the employee guild

Mar 18, 2024, 2:17 PM

Pierce County Jail...

Pierce County Jail (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

Pierce County Chief of Corrections Patti Jackson is under fire.

By a 150-14 vote, the Pierce County Corrections Guild has issued Jackson a vote of ‘no confidence,’ The News Tribune of Tacoma reported.

Guild President Bryan Buckingham told The News Tribune that corrections deputies’ main concern is a lack of training.

Buckingham said some deputies have gone five to six years without a defensive tactics course.

“For our line of work, that’s pretty dangerous to be doing,” Buckingham explained.

Other concerns include cutbacks in field training programs, less time in firearms training, and changes in hiring practices.

News from Tacoma: Body armor wearing suspect shot and killed by Pierce County deputies

Some deem the timing of the move suspicious

Sheriff Ed Troyer supports Jackson and told the Tribune he was suspicious of the timing. Jackson is running for Pierce County Sheriff and her campaign has just begun.

The guild isn’t calling for Jackson to resign. Buckingham said they want to work through their issues.

“This isn’t something that we take lightly,” Buckingham said.

In an email sent to corrections deputies on March 1 that Troyer shared with the Tacoma news outlet, Jackson wrote she and other command staff recognized the “critical need” for training. “My direction is and has been clear: prioritize meaningful content over arbitrary time constraints,” Jackson wrote to employees.

Other news: Federal Way Police say two shootings are related

The guild said that if they could not resolve their issues with Jackson, the group would bring their concerns to the Pierce County Council.

“We feel that these issues are so serious and so concerning that eventually something’s going to happen,” Buckingham said. “And we just want to avoid that.”

In April 2023, Jackson said in an update for the Pierce County Council that there were 66 vacancies, and employees were still clocking extensive mandatory overtime. The number of job vacancies in the Department of Corrections has dropped to 38, the Tribune noted.

Bill Kaczaraba is a content editor at MyNorthwest. You can read his stories here. Follow Bill on X, formerly known as Twitter, here and email him here

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Pierce County Corrections chief at odds with the employee guild