LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The officer shortage in Louisville's jail is extending into its Home Incarceration Program.

Officers in the HIP Unit manage ankle monitors and also are supposed to do house checks on people in the program.

"We'll find a large number of drugs, money, weapons. Typically we've had a very good history of getting those items off the street and making the community safer," FOP President Daniel Johnson said.

But now, he said the unit is down to only 12 officers total, so checks aren't happening as frequently as they should. When the unit is fully staffed, there are 23.

"The fact that these checks are barely being done at all should be a huge concern," he said. "It's increasingly dangerous."

Johnson said at the same time, there's more people going into HIP to try to alleviate the overcrowded jail.

He said there's about 640 people managed between 12 officers.

Officer Brad Sheppard is one of those dozen officers. He said he's obviously overwhelmed and calls the staffing shortages "a crisis situation."

"Some of them want to know, 'Why are you in a bad mood? Why are you having a bad day? Seems like you've been down lately.' Well, I can't do my job the way I used to do it, you know, a short while ago, so it's frustrating," he said.

The jail can't afford to lose any of its staff inside either.

Johnson said the jail is now up to 135 vacancies. 

Retired Sgt. James Kitts said this is when the public needs to listen to the concerns of corrections officers.

"You're one street corner away from being a victim. The less officers that are on the streets, you know, the more chances of being that victim," he said.

This because the HIP unit confiscates dozens of guns and bags full of drugs on house checks. Johnson said while he knows the staffing shortage is a nationwide problem, the solution is raising the minimum wage to get more staff inside the jail now.

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