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County and City Pay Rates - GA Sheriffs' Association letter to the GA General Assembly

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  • County and City Pay Rates - GA Sheriffs' Association letter to the GA General Assembly

    There have been several news articles from various sheriffs across south Georgia that are requesting state assistance to supplement county and city pay to be equal to or greater than the recent 20% state increase for state officers. Here is a letter from the Georgia Sheriffs' Association to the Georgia General Assembly:

    January 9, 2017

    Dear Member of the Georgia General Assembly;

    The members of the Georgia Sheriffs' Association unanimously support Governor Nathan Deal's plan to increase by twenty percent the salaries of state law enforcement officers beginning January 1, 2017. Law enforcement agencies throughout the country have experienced difficulty hiring and retaining officers and certainly the effectiveness of our Georgia Bureau of Investigation, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Georgia State Patrol and other state law enforcement agencies will be greatly enhanced through the Governor's plan which will bring greater numbers of qualified law enforcement candidates forward for consideration. More importantly, the women and men of state law enforcement will be better compensated for the valuable service they perform. As sheriffs, we appreciate the Governor recognizing the need to better compensate our protectors of the public.

    With this thought in mind, the sheriffs desperately need your help ensuring that county and municipal police officers, jailers and deputy sheriffs will also be compensated at levels authorized for state officers. Presently the average starting salary of a deputy sheriff in Georgia is $29,900, which is over fifty (50) percent less than the new starting salary of a state trooper. While we have no salary data readily available for county and municipal police officers, generally their salaries are also quite a bit lower than the salaries of state officers. Due to much lower salaries, the critical issue of officer retention for local police departments and sheriffs' offices continues to represent a significant problem as many local officers seek higher paying positions with state agencies and the private sector.

    It has been widely spoken the the compensation of local officers is strictly a local matter, one to be resolved solely by municipal corporations and county governing authorities. The compensation of local police officers and deputy sheriffs is unquestionably paid through local revenues, however, local and state officers are all paid by the same taxpayers and we do not believe our citizens will see the appropriateness or fairness of compensating state officers at levels so much higher than our local officers who are always first to respond to 911 calls. Further, throughout history state law has defined the qualifications required of local law enforcement officers, established their certification and training requirements and expected them to enforce the criminal and civil laws of Georgia. Finally, state law defines minimum salaries for teachers, judges, district attorneys, and locally elected constitutional officers. If it had not been for the wisdom and support of the General Assembly, our Governors and Lieutenant Governors, these critical positions would not have been compensated at levels commensurate with their value to the welfare of our state. And today without your active and public support, your local police officers and deputy sheriffs who answer the 911 calls in every community in your district will continue to be the lowest paid law enforcement officers in Georgia.

    Please expect to be contacted soon by your sheriff who will seek your active involvement and support of the women and men of local law enforcement. Thank you in advance for your attention to this critical matter.

    Best regards,

    Sheriff Terry Deese, Peach County
    President

    Sheriff Stacy Nicholson, Gilmer County
    1st Vice President

    Sheriff Howard Sills, Putnam County
    2nd Vice President

    Sheriff Wiley Griffin, Decatur County
    Secretary-Treasurer

    Sheriff Steve Wilson, Walker County
    Immediate Past President
    Source
    There once was a man who said: "Though,
    it seems that I know that I know,
    what I'd like to see is the I that knows me,
    when I know that I know that I know."

    - Alan Watts

  • #2
    Here's the WSB interview with Putnam and Jones County employees
    Watch Atlanta news videos from WSB-TV. The latest local news videos from the Atlanta Metro area. Sports, crime, and the latest entertainment.
    There once was a man who said: "Though,
    it seems that I know that I know,
    what I'd like to see is the I that knows me,
    when I know that I know that I know."

    - Alan Watts

    Comment


    • #3
      A letter from Sheriff Sills to fellow Georgians retrieved from Facebook:

      January 3, 2017

      Dear Fellow Georgians,

      I live in a fine community where it is quite common for citizens to approach me and ask what they can do to help us. I know police officers don’t always have such a relationship with the people they serve and I am most grateful for support like this, especially these days. I am about to ask you to help me and all the deputy sheriffs and city police in this state.

      My career in law enforcement has now spanned 43 years, and I began my sixth term in office as the Sheriff of Putnam County two days ago. I have seen and been part of phenomenal changes in this profession over the years, but I regretfully now clearly recognize that we have reached a crisis point for law enforcement in our country of which the average citizen is just unaware.

      In 2016 there were 140 law enforcement officers who lost lives in the line of duty in this country. Of these deaths, 106 men and women were local city/county police and deputy sheriffs, 19 were state officers, 6 were federal officers, and the remaining 9 were territory, college, or transit officers.

      The loss of 140 officers’ lives in a year is unfortunately not that unusual. What is different is the fact that 65 of those officers died as a result of gunfire, which represents a 69% increase in such cases from 2015. This is not something that is just occurring in the big cities. In the last two months alone there have been 9 officers shot within 100 miles of where I’m sitting and 5 of them were killed. Georgia ended 2016 ranking 4th in the nation in line of duty deaths.

      Even more unusual this year are the occurrences of officers being ambushed simply because they are the police. Of the 65 killed by gunmen last year, 21 of the officers were ambushed. This is the first time in my career that I can ever remember officers being shot as they sat in their cars or fired upon when they arrived on the scene of a bogus call. This is genuinely unprecedented in our history, and everyone in our profession is on edge and worried as never before.

      As a sheriff, my single biggest difficulty has been the inability to hire and retain qualified officers. This is not unique to Putnam County, but a systemic problem throughout Georgia law enforcement. Our very best officers almost always leave local law enforcement agencies after a few years and go on to better pay and benefits with state and federal agencies. The Georgia Sheriffs’ Association did a survey last November with 76 of the 159 sheriffs reporting that they had lost more than 500 of their deputies to state law enforcement agencies over the last 10 years. I remind you those figures came from less than half of the sheriffs and didn’t include the number officers who left city agencies for state jobs. City and county law enforcement agencies have truly become nothing more than the training grounds for our state law enforcement agencies. The constant cost associated with this turnover and training can hardly be quantified, and it is patently unfair for the local taxpayers to repeatedly foot this bill.

      Our plight of hiring and retaining personnel was exponentially exacerbated last September when Governor Deal announced that ALL state law enforcement personnel would be receiving a 20% increase in pay. Let me be very clear here, I absolutely support those officers getting a raise and think they deserve it. On the other hand though, if the state officers deserve a 20% increase, local city and county officers deserve the same increase if not more.

      With these new increases in pay a Georgia State Patrol Officer after completing his/her basic training now makes $46,422.00 per year. I remind you that this is their beginning pay level. There are three pay levels of “Trooper” that go up to $61,825.00 per year before even being promoted to the rank of corporal. The average compensation of a Georgia Deputy Sheriff after completing basic training is only $29,900.00 per year. These state officers are being paid by you the taxpayer, and we need to be able to explain to your local law enforcement officers just why they are worth so much less. These state agencies are support agencies and virtually all of them close their offices at five every day and very few of them regularly work on weekends, holidays, or nights. The dangers of the job and such disparities in pay have led to the crisis situation local law enforcement agencies find themselves in today. We simply have no way to compete with the state, not to mention federal agencies, anymore, and we absolutely cannot afford to lose anymore of our personnel.

      Georgia Sheriffs are going to be seeking the enactment of legislation this year which will mandate that any full-time, certified peace officer be paid AT LEAST the beginning salary of a Georgia State Patrol Officer. Critics of this effort are going to shout loudly that this is simply a local matter and shouldn’t be addressed with a state law. Sheriffs will first counter that by saying that even though local taxpayers are the ones who foot the bill for our own salaries, it’s state law that mandates the minimum salary for all sheriffs in Georgia.

      Many years ago our General Assembly recognized that our local school systems had a similar problem acquiring and retaining qualified teachers. To cure that problem they enacted legislation that mandated a statewide minimum pay scale, insurance, and retirement system commensurate with education and experience for all of our local educators. Had those laws not been passed, the disparities in education from one county to another would be profound today. Surely our deputies and city officers, the men and women who go headlong into harm’s way every day, deserve to be treated similarly as our teachers have been.

      The pay increases we are proposing will need some sort of tax increase for funding, and we believe it to be blatantly unfair to place the burden of it on the property owning taxpayer. I certainly don’t enjoy paying taxes, and all law enforcement officers pay taxes just like you do. We believe the only way funding for the increases we are proposing can be equitably accomplished is through an additional penny of sales tax which would be solely dedicated and restricted to fund only local city and county law enforcement officers’ salaries and benefits.

      Did you know that you are paying the rent of convicts who are released from prison for three months? Did you also know that you were giving tax credit incentives to hire convicted felons? It seems to me that we are making great efforts to help criminals, and it seems we could in turn provide a minimum salary to those who are risking their lives every day to apprehend them.

      It has become incredibly hard to hire an officer, and if this crisis isn’t addressed in some manner very soon, there will be dire results to the safety of the public. We never close, and when you call 911 it’s a local deputy or city officer who will be responding to your call.

      I am asking you to write, email, or call your state senators and representatives and tell them to support and vote for legislation that will require your local officers be paid at least the starting pay of a state trooper. If you don’t know who or how to contact your legislators, please contact me and I will personally provide you with their contact information.

      Your local officers need your help and support now more than ever, and I implore you help them in the same manner your state officers have been helped.

      Most sincerely,

      Howard R. Sills

      Sheriff, Putnam County

      2nd Vice President, Georgia Sheriffs’ Association

      P.O. Box 3637

      Eatonton, Georgia 31024

      (706) 485-8557
      There once was a man who said: "Though,
      it seems that I know that I know,
      what I'd like to see is the I that knows me,
      when I know that I know that I know."

      - Alan Watts

      Comment


      • #4
        Georgia sheriffs were rankled when they heard that state troopers, Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents and other state law enforcement officers would see 20 percent salary bump starting with their first paychecks of 2017, on the 16th.

        The governor’s plan to give state law enforcement officers an average increase in pay of $8,000 left sheriffs statewide asking “what about us?”

        Sheriffs have complained that deputies are leaving in droves for more livable salaries offered by state, federal and larger police agencies

        “I absolutely support those officers getting a raise and think they deserve it,” Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills wrote in a letter to colleagues. “On the other hand though, if the state officers deserve a 20 percent increase, local city and county officers deserve the same increase, if not more.
        Georgia sheriffs were rankled when they heard that state troopers, Georgia Bureau of Investigation a...
        Last edited by NoWingedAngel; 01-25-2017, 04:34 AM.
        There once was a man who said: "Though,
        it seems that I know that I know,
        what I'd like to see is the I that knows me,
        when I know that I know that I know."

        - Alan Watts

        Comment


        • #5
          Retrieved from the Support Georgia Law Enforcement 2017 Facebook page:

          16107267_231138664000202_2087762868315436973_o.jpg
          There once was a man who said: "Though,
          it seems that I know that I know,
          what I'd like to see is the I that knows me,
          when I know that I know that I know."

          - Alan Watts

          Comment


          • #6
            An op-ed by Sheriff Steve Sikes, Liberty County, Georgia:

            I live in a fine community where it is quite common for citizens to approach me and ask what they can do to help us.

            I know police officers don’t always have such a friendly relationship with the people they serve and I am most grateful for support like this, especially these days. I am about to ask you to help me and all the deputy sheriffs and city police in this state.

            I have just started my seventh year in law enforcement, and I began my second term in office as the sheriff of Liberty County 11 days ago.

            I have seen and been part of phenomenal changes in this profession over the years, but I regretfully now clearly recognize that we have reached a crisis point for law enforcement in our country of which the average citizen is just unaware.

            In 2016, there were 140 law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in this country. Of these deaths, 106 men and women were local city or county police and deputy sheriffs; 19 were state officers, six were federal officers and the remaining nine were territory, college or transit officers.

            The loss of the lives of 140 officers in a year is unfortunately not that unusual.

            What is different is the fact that 65 of those officers died as a result of gunfire, which represents a 69 percent increase in such cases from 2015. Nine officers were shot within 200 miles of where I am sitting and five of them were killed. Georgia ended 2016 ranking No. 4 in the nation in line of duty deaths.

            Even more unusual this year, are the occurrences of officers being ambushed simply because they are the police.

            Of the 65 killed by gunmen last year, 21 of the officers were ambushed. This is the first time in my career that I can ever remember officers being shot as they sat in their cars or fired upon as they arrived on the scene of a bogus call. This is genuinely unprecedented in our history, and everyone in our profession is on edge and worried as never before.

            As a sheriff, my single biggest difficulty has been the inability to hire and retain qualified officers.

            This is not unique to Liberty County, but a systematic problem throughout Georgia law enforcement. Our very best officers almost always leave local law enforcement agencies after a few years and go on to better pay and benefits with state and federal agencies.

            The Georgia Sheriffs’ Association did a survey last November with 76 of the 159 sheriffs reporting that they had lost more than 500 deputies to state law enforcement agencies over the last 10 years.

            I remind you those figures come from less than half of the sheriffs and didn’t include the number of officers who left city agencies for state jobs.

            City and county law enforcement agencies have truly become nothing more than the training grounds for our state and federal law enforcement agencies. The constant cost associated with this turnover and training can hardly be quantified, and it is patently unfair for the local taxpayers to repeatedly foot this bill.

            Our plight of hiring and retaining personnel was exponentially exacerbated last September when Gov. Nathan Deal announced that all state law enforcement personnel would be receiving a 20 percent increase in pay.

            Let me be very clear here, I absolutely support those officers getting a raise and think they deserve it. On the other hand though, if the state officers deserve a 20 percent increase, local city and county officers deserve the same if not more.

            With these new increases in pay a Georgia State Patrol officer, after completing his or her basic training, now makes $46,422 a year. I remind you that this is their beginning pay level. There are three pay levels of "trooper" that go up to $61,825 per year before even being promoted to the rank of corporal.

            The average compensation of a Georgia deputy sheriff after completing basic training is $29,900 per year.

            These state officers are being paid by you the taxpayer, and we need to be able to explain to your local law enforcement officers just why they are worth so much less. These state agencies are support agencies and virtually all of them close their offices at 5 p.m. every day and very few of them actually work on weekends, holidays or nights.

            The dangers of the job and such disparities in pay have led to the crisis situation local law enforcement agencies find themselves in today. We simply have no way to promise compete with the state, not to mention federal agencies, anymore, and we absolutely cannot afford to lose any more of our personnel.

            Georgia’s sheriffs are going to be seeking the enactment of legislation this year which will mandate that any full-time certified peace officer be paid at least the beginning salary of a Georgia State Patrol officer.

            Critics of this effort are going to shout loudly that this is simply a local matter and shouldn’t be addressed with a state law. Sheriffs will first counter by saying that even though local taxpayers are the ones who foot the bill for our own salaries, its state law that mandates the minimum salary for all sheriffs in Georgia.

            Many years ago our General Assembly recognized that our local school systems had a similar problem acquiring and retaining qualified teachers. To cure the problem they enacted legislation that mandated a statewide minimum pay scale, insurance and retirement system commensurate with education and experience for all our local educators. Had those laws not been passed, the disparities in education from one county to another would be profound today.

            Surely our deputies and city officers, the men and women who go headlong into harm’s way every day, deserve to be treated similarly as our teachers have been.

            The pay increases we are proposing will need some sort of tax increase in funding, and we believe it to be blatantly unfair to place the burden of it on the property owning taxpayer. I certainly don’t enjoy paying taxes, and all law enforcement officers pay taxes just like you do.

            We believe the only way funding for the increases we are proposing can be equitably accomplished is through an additional penny of sales tax which would be solely dedicated and restricted to fund only local city and county law enforcement offices’ salaries and benefits.

            It has become incredibly hard to hire an officer and if this crisis isn’t addressed in some manner very soon, there will be dire results to the safety of the public. We never close and when you call 911, it’s a local deputy or city officer who will be responding to your call.

            I am asking that you write, email or call your state senators and representatives, and tell them to support and vote for legislation that will require your local officers be paid at least the starting pay of a state trooper.

            Your local officers need your help and support now more than ever. I implore you to help them in the same manner your state officers have been helped.
            I live in a fine community where it is quite common for citizens to approach me and ask what they can do to help us.
            There once was a man who said: "Though,
            it seems that I know that I know,
            what I'd like to see is the I that knows me,
            when I know that I know that I know."

            - Alan Watts

            Comment


            • #7
              Your life - is it worth a penny?

              The Morgan County Sheriff agrees with Sills.

              “The hiring of qualified individuals to serve the public is arguably one of the most difficult decisions a law enforcement executive makes, Sheriff Markley said. “We subject all applicants to a stringent selection process to aid us in making these critical hiring decisions.The minimal compensation and benefits packages fail to attract otherwise qualified candidates.Consequently, we have very few applicants to choose from.That coupled with the few transgressions by a few bad apples over the past couple of years that slipped through the cracks has caused many tenured law enforcement officers to leave the profession, and it also dissuades others from joining the profession.”

              Sills has proposed a solution.

              “Many years ago our General Assembly recognized that our local school systems had a similar problem acquiring and retaining qualified teachers," Sills wrote. “To cure that problem they enacted legislation that mandated a statewide minimum pay scale, insurance, and retirement system commensurate with education and experience for all of our local educators. Had those laws not been passed, the disparities in education from one county to another would be profound today. Surely our deputies and city officers, the men and women who go headlong into harm’s way every day, deserve to be treated similarly as our teachers have been.

              Sills thinks it unfair to place the burden on local governments and property owners.

              “We believe the only way funding for the increases we are proposing can be equitably accomplished is through an additional penny of sales tax which would be solely dedicated and restricted to fund only local city and county law enforcement officers’ salaries and benefits,” Sills wrote.

              Markley said he agrees that a penny sales tax might alleviate the problem.

              “I support the penny statewide tax to support local law enforcement budgets as long as it is distributed equitably across the board to those communities that truly need it to subsidize the taxpayer dollars,” Markley said.

              Greene County Sheriff Donnie Harrison is also on board.

              “I think that [the penny sales tax] is the most logical and cost effective way to generate revenue for an increase in funding,” Harrison said. Greene County has the benefit of being situated along I-20 which means at least some of the revenue would be paid by visitors who pass through and spend money in our local businesses. In my opinion, this is a much a better option than having the local taxpayers left with the full burden of funding the proposal.”
              There once was a man who said: "Though,
              it seems that I know that I know,
              what I'd like to see is the I that knows me,
              when I know that I know that I know."

              - Alan Watts

              Comment


              • #8
                I think that's enough news articles for now. I figured this could generate some discussion.

                Personally, I think this a good idea. I have zero problems paying an extra penny so rural agencies can get a salary supplement from the state. I also have zero problems with them enacting it as a sales tax - this guarantees that felons, illegal aliens, drug dealers, visitors from out of state and country put in on the fund.
                There once was a man who said: "Though,
                it seems that I know that I know,
                what I'd like to see is the I that knows me,
                when I know that I know that I know."

                - Alan Watts

                Comment


                • #9
                  I have no problem kicking in a penny to earn a few more. lol. I do hope the low pay issue gains some traction!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    How about this...legalize Marijuana for recreational sales, tax it 33%. Out of the 33% take out 12% and use that money for LAW ENFORCEMENT, such as pay and equipment. Legalize Casinos, same thing 33% taxed and 12% goes to police. Now we have 24% of money going into polie where thr city and county can't lower the pay but keep the pay with the tax money as added bonus

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Rob, that's a nice thought but practically the chances of it happening are next to nothing.

                      Legalizing weed is also a slippery slope. You legalize weed, and your plain smell probable cause to search a vehicle for harder drugs and guns is nullified. Want to transport a few kilos of heroin? Drop a pound of weed in the car along with it. It nullifies an open air sniff from a canine as well. Ask Washington state how thats going for them.
                      There once was a man who said: "Though,
                      it seems that I know that I know,
                      what I'd like to see is the I that knows me,
                      when I know that I know that I know."

                      - Alan Watts

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Can't have it all. Gotta make sure your roadside interviews are on point.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Maybe have collective bargaining and unions to help out
                          I don't answer recruitment messages....

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Collective bargaining and public sector unions are illegal in Georgia.
                            There once was a man who said: "Though,
                            it seems that I know that I know,
                            what I'd like to see is the I that knows me,
                            when I know that I know that I know."

                            - Alan Watts

                            Comment

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