Pima County Sheriff Chris Nanos told KGUN 9 that the Pima County Sheriff’s Department paid nearly $9 million in overtime alone last yeararound $7 to $8 million more than the county budgeted for, according to the sheriff.

Nanos says he thinks the department is turning a corner, with more people applying, testing, and joining the academy.

Ideally, Nanos says he’d like to see his staff reach around 1,500a number close to what it was back in 2016. Re-staffing to that level should provide some relief to his current staff, who he says have little choice but to rack up overtime.

“Unfortunately, sometimes those work days are longer than they ever anticipated, because there is short staffing. My corrections officers are no different. They go to work, and sometimes they don’t know exactly when they are coming home because over time is critical,” Nanos says.

Nanos says the pattern has been the same for deputies, corrections officers, and even civilians working for the department.

Even though the department is understaffed, Nanos says his department doesn’t offer higher paychecks to recruit from other cities.

He says he believes there’s value in recruiting people who have ties to the Pima County community.