New Mobile Co. Budget Could Relieve Law Enforcement Struggles

Having to wear protective gear, and putting yourself in harm’s way is just part of the job for Mobile County Law Enforcement. “We’re mainly out here to protect the citizens and the people of this country,” said Mobile County Sheriff’s Lt. Richard Cayton.

Lately, it’s been getting harder for Cayton’s boss to find people like him. Mobile County Sheriff Sam Cochran says pay raises haven’t been keeping up to retain or recruit new deputies. “We’ve gone many many years with only 1 raise in the last 8 years and so we began to lose employees we’ve lost a number of deputies to other agencies,” said Cochran.

The situation is even more alarming at Metro Jail where he says he cannot stem the loss of correctional officers.  “We’re in a constant hiring situation, recruiting new COs, hiring new COs, COs leave and we never stop hiring,” explained Cochran.

Meanwhile at the Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich’s Office – where prosecutors work to go after criminals in court – it’s a concern whether they’ll see anything this year.  “Every single county employee that got raise over the last 18 years the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office was not included in that,” said Rich.  Commissioners see the DA’s office as a state agency. Rich filed a lawsuit to contend otherwise. That case is still pending. “I’m down 26 employees anything would help us,” said Rich.

While pay is the key issue – commissioners have to balance the budget with everything else. “We all seem to be working in the same direction of giving a good raise this year,” said County Commission President Jerry Carl. He says the goal is to give an across the board raise of 5 percent, it could be less, but things are looking kind of good.  “We have an overage of money this year. We have for the last two years that will carry over, so we’ve got about 6 ½ million from 2015, going on into 2016.

A preview of the budget is expected to be released this week. The Commission will vote on the new budget September 28th.

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