SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Sedgwick County commissioners approved a pay increase for detention deputies by a vote of 5-0 on Wednesday. Sheriff Jeff Easter presented the plan.
Currently, the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office has 98 openings in the detention bureau. When fully staffed, detention has 233 positions.
Commissioner Jim Howell said on Tuesday that the county will move to add $2 million or more to pay deputies a better salary.
“I’ve been here years, and this has been a chronic problem within the jail,” said Howell. “Trying to find enough people who are willing to do that type of job.”
In Sedgwick County, the pay did range from $16 an hour to nearly $25 an hour, depending on the detention officer’s experience, now everyone gets a $3 raise.
“We will immediately raise the starting pay to 18.96 an hour,” explained Sedgwick County Sheriff, Jeff Easter. “Everybody else in whatever step they’re in, we’ll raise them $3 an hour in that particular step.”
Pay at state prisons starts at $18.26 an hour, and the hourly pay rate for Wichita police is even higher.
This raise is being called a gamechanger for the deputies it impacts.
OTHER AREA SALARIES:
- Butler County Sheriff’s Office Starting pay $18.30 an hour
- Kansas Department of Corrections Starting pay $18.26 an hour
- Reno County Sheriff’s Office Starting pay $16.06 an hour
- Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office Starting pay $15.96 an hour
“We didn’t even see it coming which was great. It just showed and made us feel appreciated,” said Dep. Nicole Sloan. “I like my job and everything so to me this is an extra bigger bonus.”
Some criminology experts say lower pay for jail officers and a chronic lack of staffing can have a cumulative effect.
“You’re going to have to stretch people thinner, make them work longer hours,” said criminology expert Tor Wynn at Friends University. “More overtime and it’s going to make it easier for them to make mistakes.”
For more information on how to apply for a detention deputy job, click here. Those having questions about the detention deputy position may contact the sheriff’s office training academy at 660-3800.