Dougherty sheriff says raises are essential -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dougherty sheriff says raises are essential

Sheriff Kevin Sproul Sheriff Kevin Sproul

Dougherty County's Sheriff says he's having trouble keeping and attracting good workers because they don't make enough money. He asked county commissioners to consider raises, but they didn't want to talk about that Monday.

Sheriff Kevin Sproul says he lost several dozen workers over the last year because of low pay, and that's creating problems for his department.

Nearly 40 workers left the Dougherty County Sheriff's Office last year. Sheriff Kevin Sproul says it's because of low pay.   

Today, he presented a letter to county commissioners asking for pay raises. Commissioner Lamar Hudgens ended the conversation with one word: "budgets."  

"I'm to the point now where it's hard to stand in front of your employees that have been with you longer than five years and they are receiving the same compensation they did when I became sheriff in 2009," Sproul said.  

Sproul says it's hard to bring in new, young officers when their pay is as low as $26,000 a year, and their salaries aren't competitive with the Albany PD or even police departments in smaller towns such as Sylvester and Moultrie.    

"If I entertained an applicant and hired an applicant today, they would make the same pay as they did in January 1st of 2009."  

The average age of a deputy is 47.  While pay remains stagnant, the cost of living continues to increase and it's hard for people to support their families.    

"Working in law enforcement is already a very difficult arena to work in, especially in the Jail when you deal with the inmate population that we deal with, you have special management inmates you have inmates with special diseases."  

County officials tell us about 45% of the budget is allotted for public safety. Finance Chairman Lamar Hudgens says he doesn't see a sustainable way to give raises-- without raising taxes.



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