NOWATA COUNTY, Oklahoma - Almost a dozen volunteers are helping run the Nowata County Sheriff’s Office and they and they are doing it all for free. Deputies tell News On 6, the hours those volunteers are putting in are helping them focus on their jobs in the field.

The Nowata County Sheriff says they have about 20 full time employees and that includes everyone from deputies to detention officers to dispatch. They say if they had more funds they would hire more people. The shortage of staff is making all the hours volunteers are putting in at the Sheriff’s Office so worthwhile.

Kim Owen spends 5 days, around 50 hours a week at her desk. She is volunteering her time and experience as the retired Vice President of HR for QuikTrip to fill in for an administrative assistant who is out with an injury. She says she is putting in the hours of a full-time employee for free.

"I am a resident of Nowata County and I really am trying to improve Nowata County and help out where I can instead of just sitting by and complaining," said Kim Owen.

She deals with accounting and budgeting but says a big part of her shift is spent applying for grants that would improve safety and security at the sheriff’s office and courthouse.

"It has just kind of turned into kind of a full time gig for a little while," said Owen.

Kim says she isn't the only volunteer, there are almost a dozen other people spending their free time helping the sheriff’s office run at a professional level. Their work is changing the game for full-time employees, who the sheriff says are working long hours for as little as $1,300 a month. 

"Resources are pretty limited here so having volunteers and people donating time and knowledge and resources is critical at this point," said Nowata County Sheriff Deputy Anthony Lein.

"There are a lot of good people here in Nowata County and we just need to come together and do what is best for the county," said Owen.