Lewis County Jail in ‘dire need’ of corrections deputies, undersheriff says


The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office has nine vacancies in its corrections department, Undersheriff Wes Rethwill said on Monday, and he can foresee “at least three more on the horizon.”

According to the Lewis County Jail website, the custody division is run by one lieutenant, who oversees four custody squads each led by one sergeant, composed of seven or eight deputies. 

Squads work 12-hour shifts with three or four days off per week on a rotating schedule, with a total of six months on day and six months on night shifts throughout the year. 

With the current and predicted vacancies, Rethwill said, “that’s essentially two squads that we’re going to be down, and it’s going to be very, very difficult for us to continue operations. … It’s not plug and play. It takes a while to get people up to speed.”

He spoke to the issue during a meeting of the Lewis County Fire Commissioners Association on Monday night, telling the attendees, “if anybody knows young individuals that are looking for a career path, we are in dire need of corrections deputies right now.”

The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office also has two vacancies on the operations side, Rethwill said, which would be road patrol positions. 

Lewis County Corrections Bureau Chief Chris Sweet expressed interest in answering more questions about the lack of corrections deputies and the responsibilities of the role but was not available for an interview before The Chronicle’s press deadline on Friday.

For more information, visit https://lewiscountywa.gov/offices/sheriff/corrections-jail, call jail administration on Mondays through Fridays at 360-740-2714 or email lcjail@lewiscountywa.gov.