CLINTON, N.C. (WNCN) — A central North Carolina sheriff this week pointed out how depleted his staff is — by nearly 30 officers.

Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton posted a photo on Facebook of at least 17 unused patrol cars.

He said there were “rows” of empty patrol cars because “we don’t have deputies and patrolmen to drive them.”

Thornton highlighted last week an attack by a jail inmate and how that was partially to blame on low staffing.

In the past several months, Thornton has been critical of a “lack of appropriate funding” from county leaders to help hire more deputies and pay more to detention officers and deputies.

On Thursday, Thornton described the stark realities as he posted the photo of unused patrol cars.

“Last summer the sheriff’s office was short 13 deputies, patrolmen and detention officers. Now it’s short 29,” he wrote.

Thornton said he’s unable to hire more workers “because other counties pay deputies and patrolmen more to work for them.”