In a perfect world, there would be an unlimited pool of money for people whose job it is to save lives, and protect homes and property. Instead, police and sheriff's departments have to live within a budget.
That pool of money for Putnam County Sheriff's Deputies is about to get quite a bit deeper. They're getting a 15 percent pay hike which is pretty substantial.
The sheriff says it's desperately needed.
Putnam County has lost a lot of deputies over the years to other police departments that pay more. Sheriff Mark Smith says one of his priorities has been to change that trend. Now County Commissioners are fully on board and the deputies are seeing the highest pay hike in department history.
90% of people don't really care about what you do or what you do for them.
Deputy William Sienze Junior doesn't exactly feel appreciated by much of community. But a 15.5 % pay increase certainly helps raise spirit of a department that's been taking hits.
Sheriff Smith explains, “We will have lost 7 in less than 2 years and that's pretty bad because these are seasoned trained officers.”
Those who are left were working extra jobs to make ends meet.
The goal of this pay raise, that Sheriff Mark Smith calls unheard of, is to improve the department's applicant pool and it seriously needs improving.
Sheriff “we tested we invited 51 to test. 12 showed up, 2 failed physical, 3 failed written that put us down to 7. We did background investigation on that group of 7 and we quickly got down to two people.”
They had three openings!
For new hires, the raise will bring deputy salaries from just over $23,000, to more than $25,600.
The pay increases once a deputy finishes training at the academy and continues to move through the ranks. The problem before the pay increase was Putnam would train the officers and then lose them!
Sheriff Smith says even if he could hire someone today, it'd be months or even a year before they're a fully-trained deputy. He hopes this raise will help the department keep the officers it has and hire more.
Sheriff Smith says this will be an ongoing effort.