SAN ANTONIO -

For years, Bexar County jailers have been forced to work mandatory overtime because of staffing shortages and that has cost taxpayers millions.

But Sheriff Susan Pamerleau said one last push could solve the problem once and for all.

This year alone, Sheriff Pamerleau has asked for and received about $1.7 million to pay for that overtime. She says it's been an issue since day one.

"The annual overtime budget was depleted nine days into my tenure," Pamerleau said. Simply because there are not enough officers to go around.

Back in January, there were 52 vacancies at the jail. It was an issue the previous administration did not address so the problem fell to Pamerleau, who coaxed veterans out of retirement and boosted hiring.

"We have two concurrent classes at anyone time, we start a new detention officers class every month," Pamerleau said.

As of Tuesday morning, there were only 18 vacancies at the jail. However, Pamerleau said, "That's going to jump because we have resignations, retirements, maybe some terminations."

Pamerleau said it is a roller coaster that slows the process down, but still progress.

Pamerleau said $700,000 will pay for overtime through September and she believes by then, she'll have hired enough officers to fix the problem.

Pamerleau also has the authorization to hire up to 30 part-timers.

So when a full-timer retires in the future, someone can be promoted to fill the spot and the jail won't have to face an overtime problem again in the future.

For a list of recent stories Matt Rivers has done, click here.