The Kern County (CA) Sheriff's Office has been offering a $25,000 hiring bonus for lateral hires since 2020, and no one has accepted.

Still, this week Sheriff Donny Youngblood asked the Kern County Board of Supervisors to renew the offer for the next three years. And the Board has agreed. The bonus is distributed to the new deputy over a period of five years. A relocation payment of $5,000 is also offered to lateral hires moving more than 50 miles.

“There’s a severe impact on our communities that we serve” when deputy positions remain unfilled, Youngblood told

Youngblood added he gets calls every day from rural substations requesting coverage. At times, a rural substation might not have deputies working at 3  a.m. and substations must double their jurisdiction to ensure service is provided, he said.

This year, the agency has lost 48 people to retirement or other reasons, with 24 new hires. About 145 deputy positions remained unfilled.