The Mobile County Commission approved today a 7.5% pay increase that will benefit deputies, corrections officers and inmate supervisors. The raise will roll out March 30th. If funds are available, there will also be a raise of 2.5% in October for all county employees across the board. This will cost the county $2.89 million after both salary adjustments.
Sheriff Sam Cochran says they are losing their deputies to other agencies. This 7.5% raise will better help retain and recruit more.
“Because the county has not been able to give what’s known as step raises within their pay range, someone who has been here 15 years is only making about $1,500 more than someone that’s been here just a year,” says Sheriff Cochran.
Improving public safety, he says, will bring an economic boost.
“If you lose public safety, you’re going to lose the ability to create economic development. Companies would not want to come here if they saw the degradation of our public safety,” says Cochran.
Deputy Sheriffs work in dangerous conditions each day, and so do corrections officers who will also see a raise. Corporal Ira Kennington has been here for 12 years. Today he’s tackling several jobs at once. They’re looking to hire 26 more corrections officers. Kennington is happy to see the raises.
“As a whole, it’ll raise morale around here,” says Kennington.
You’ve already got thousands of inmates who don’t want to be there, the last thing you want is people who don’t want to work there and don’t come prepared for the job.
“In fact, we recognized two officers yesterday for saving an inmate’s life who was trying to hang himself. So if a corrections officer comes to the jail not on his or her “A” game, they’re exposing the county to tremendous liability,” says Warden Trey Oliver.
And dealing with inmates is already dangerous.
“From people who come in the door, they’re polite, respectful, all the way over to people who are combative. Literally want to fight you right then and there,” says Kennington.
He’s been spit on, cursed at and assaulted on a daily basis. Starting salary for these keepers of the peace is around $30,000 a year.
Starting salary for deputies is around $32,000 a year.
Inmate supervisors will also see the 7.5% increase. these employees have only had a merit increase once in the last seven years.