WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — Amid staffing concerns that arose after a plotted riot at the Sedgwick County Jail in July, Sedgwick County Commissioners on Wednesday approved a pay raise for the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.

Sedgwick County Commissioners unanimously approved a pay raise for commissioned deputies and detention deputies to $23.50 per hour, which according to Sedgwick County Sheriff Jeff Easter, would put the agency just above the Maize Police Department and below the Bel Aire Police Department.

Easter told commissioners Wednesday staffing shortages have been a major cause for concern. Two more people resigned over the weekend, making a bad situation worse.

“Currently, we’re budgeted 228 positions as detention deputies,” Easter said. “Current openings are 112 with two pending ESCs, which those are Employed Status Conference hearings, on whether we’ll keep people employed or not, so the total openings is 114. Vacancy rate is 50%. Starting detention pay is $19.34 an hour.”

Because of the short staffing, Easter said burnout has become a potential issue with the staff.

“When it comes to management, supervisors are also working mandatory overtime and are affected by potential burnout,” Easter said. “Supervisors are working detention deputy positions due to staffing levels.”

Easter said the ratio of detention deputies to inmates on first shift is 75 to one, second shift is 69 to one, and third shift is 75 to one. There are roughly 1,500 inmates are in the Sedgwick County Jail, and that puts the jail over capacity.

Easter said in 2015, he proposed pay increases to retain deputies and attract new applicants, but “it was not adjusted until the pay plan was installed in 2019.”

He said currently, there are two applicants for the 114 open detention positions.

The total annual budget impact of the pay increase will be around $4.1 million, according to officials.

Sedgwick County District 3 Commissioner David Dennis called the staffing shortages a “significant issue.” He hopes the pay raise will retain and recruit the deputies needed to fully staff the sheriff’s office.

All five commissioners, Lacey Cruse, David Dennis, Jim Howell, Pete Meitzner, and Sarah Lopez, all voted to approve the pay raise.