In localities that do not supplement local sheriffs’ salaries, a starting deputy sheriff with a family of four and two children qualifies for food stamps. This is shameful and has evolved because the General Assembly approved a budget with pay raises that were eliminated by a revenue trigger. During the prior year, all other state-funded law enforcement offices received a 3% across-the-board raise, compression raises and special raises, depending on what state law enforcement agency is involved.
The starting annual salary of a deputy sheriff is $31,009, or $2,584.08 per month. The qualifying salary of federal assistance is $2,628.00 if the deputy is married and has two dependent children.
The turnover of first year deputy sheriffs for all localities (including the localities that supplement) is 21.3% according to the Compensation Board. This leaves many sheriffs’ offices as the de facto training agency for other law enforcement agencies, both local and state. As soon as deputies are hired and trained, they begin the search for a better-paid law enforcement profession.
Here are the facts about what our sheriffs, deputies and staff face every day:
- Sheriffs’ offices are the primary law enforcement agencies in 86 counties in Virginia, making over 63,000 part A and part B arrests annually and answering nearly 2 million calls for service.
- Sheriffs are absorbing additional responsibilities each year with the overwhelming responsibility of mental health transports.
- Sheriffs serve more than 3 million civil papers to keep the court system moving and provide security to keep Virginia’s courts, judges and users of the judicial system safe.
- Sheriffs serve as the keepers of all local jails, and many serve as policymakers on regional jail boards and authorities.
- Sheriffs are addressing the mental health crisis currently in local jails, maintaining the safest environment possible for both staff and local jail inmates.
The job of a deputy isn’t getting any easier, but the recognition by those responsible for providing adequate compensation leaves much to be desired.
The Virginia Sheriffs’ Association has placed deputy and staff compensation as its top priority to address the current salary discrepancy that exists in the Commonwealth.