Henry County Sheriff calls for increases to retain officers

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HENRY CO., Va. (WDBJ) – Law enforcement agencies across the country are reporting increased staff turnover rates, and Henry County is no exception.

Henry Lane County Sheriff Perry told the Board of Supervisors at their meeting on Tuesday that they have lost 16 sworn officers in the past 10 weeks, and if this trend continues they will have to cut their services.

“Some of them went to the private sector, but a few went to other agencies for more money,” said Sheriff Perry, who made a presentation to county officials outlining his proposal. salary increase for new agents and 5% increase for lower level employees. with two or more years in the force.

This would not include increases for senior management or himself.

The sheriff says it would cost just under $ 400,000.

The county is also six months away from opening a new prison, requiring the hiring of additional staff for this location.

“We have already hired the first 19, we are working on the next group of 25, but when we have those who have retired, have resigned or those who have resigned here recently, that made it particularly difficult,” explains the sheriff. Pear.

The office is mandated to run the prison, provide court services, and serve civil proceedings, but everything else can be put on the back burner without more staff for everyone.

“These are the people who will see the greatest impact,” Sheriff Perry adds. “Our community is very important, safety is very important, and I firmly believe in providing citizens with a good level of service and protection, and with that, I wanted to ask them to make an effort to help retain our agents. “

County officials say their financial fortunes are improving, pointing to lower unemployment rates than 2010 and sharp debt reduction, but an investment like this pay hike will take time to consider.

“We’re not jumping before we watch, we want to make sure we have the ability to do it and do it the right way,” says Brandon Martin, a public relations representative for Henry County. “One of the things we did well was that we avoided using a lot of our fund balance, which is our savings, to be able to do that and that’s one thing that comes from the advisers. financial is that it is something that is necessary for one-time expenses. This is the best use for it. Not necessarily an increase that we would need to fund year after year to move forward. “

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