Tulsa County Jail Needs More Detention Officers - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Tulsa County Jail Needs More Detention Officers

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It's National Detention Officers Week and the Tulsa County Jail is always looking for men and women to supervise inmates.

There are about 230 detention officers already filling those spots, one of those is 21-year-old Sally Matthews. She has been a detention officer for the past 9 months and says the first day was tough.

"When that last door closed, I was like, oh man this just got real. I just have to remember what I learned in the academy," says Sally Matthews.

Matthews has been in charge of 110 inmates at a time, but this week is overseeing 15 women in special housing. The detention officers are in charge of everything the inmates do.

"They are responsible for when they take showers, when they have rec, when they get to eat, when they use the phone, when they have visitation, when they get their mail," says Major Shannon Clark, Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.

Matthews says it's harder on the inmates to take orders from her then for her to give them because she would rather not know why they are in jail. To be a detention officer you only have to have a high school diploma and have good moral character.

"It takes a special person, not everybody can go over there and intermingle around a hundred bad guys day in day out walking amongst them," says Major Clark.

Clark says most detention officers want to become deputies someday and that's why there is a lot of turnover because they are being promoted once they get a college degree.

Matthews has completed two years of college and wants to be a deputy. She says this is great experience for her future.

Each shift is 12 hours long and Matthews has to do security checks every thirty minutes. She says she got some advice when she first started that she will never forget; Leave your heart in the parking lot.

"I have heard some crazy stories that inmates have told me and I'm blown away by it, but right then you have to let it go," says Matthews.

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office holds an academy for new staff members almost every month.

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