The Cole County sheriff says low pay is making it hard to keep deputies.
On Tuesday, Sheriff Greg White and the Cole County Commission applied for a grant that would give county deputies an extra $200 a month.
The Deputy Sheriff Salary Supplementation Fund Grant was created in 2008 as a way to increase salaries for state deputies.
It is funded by a $10 fee that is attached to the civil court process.
The grant increases the salaries of deputies to the $28,000 mark, or if they are already above that, it gives them an extra $200 a month.
“When you consider feeding yourself, a spouse- and children, it becomes almost impossible. We really don’t think our deputies should have to be on food stamps,” said White.
White says his deputies’ salaries are in the lower half of the state average and that causes him some trouble in employee retention.
He says many of his deputies are having to move on to other jobs in order to make enough money for their families.
White says the low salaries make the hiring process difficult as well.
“I can tell you that one agency had five people apply. When they found out that they were going to have to take a 15 plus-thousand-dollar salary decrease, while they wanted to be here, they couldn’t afford a salary cut to their family,” said White.
And White says it is important for the safety of the county that he stay fully staffed.
He says that’s why grants like the DSSF are necessary.
Presiding Commissioner Marc Ellinger agrees the county should be a perfect candidate for the grant because it’s deputies stay so busy.
“The court system, as you know, is the third-busiest in the state. It entails a lot of extra duties on the Sheriff’s Department. The legislature several years ago added a fee. We are applying to get some of that fee back, so that we can help pay for our deputies to do all of this extra work,” said Ellinger.
The average salary for a Cole County deputy is around $35,000.
The deputies currently receive $100 a month from the DSSSF grant.