Lauderdale County sheriff wants higher pay for deputies

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LAUDERDALE COUNTY, Ala. – Imagine putting your life on the line every day you report to work. While others depend on you for their safety, your family at home is barely getting by. One northwest Alabama sheriff is wanting to help his deputies.

“It is a very stressful, very risky job, especially in this day and time,” stated Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton. “These guys deserve every penny we pay them and then some.”

When Sheriff Singleton took office five years ago he knew there needed to be changes made. On of his list, salary adjustments for deputies. Some are struggling.

“$375 a week. He pays a house payment, utilities, put groceries on the table, clothing on their backs for a family; he’s got three kids,” described Singleton about one of his deputies.

Singleton is requesting pay increases for deputies and corrections officers. Currently at $33,000 a year for a new deputy, they are losing recruits to other agencies.

“People who are interested in a law enforcement career basically can sort of pick and choose where they want to work. If you are not competitive in the salary market you are just not going to get many recruits.”

The proposal would cost the Lauderdale County Commission between $350,000 and $400,000 a year to be competitive. Singleton says what they are asking for is not unrealistic by any means, and he wishes they could pay more. The county commission will take up the request in its upcoming budget hearings.

Sheriff Singleton also wants the Lauderdale County Commission to address the cost of health insurance for employees and their families. That is another cost which he said is hurting the sheriff’s office in recruiting deputies.

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