Bill aims to increase sheriff deputy pay

Published: Jan. 25, 2021 at 7:05 PM EST
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COVINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) - In many rural communities, when the call for help comes in the night, it’s a sheriff’s deputy who answers. But the deputy who shows up may be making close to what will soon be minimum wage.

“I’ve seen it on both sides,” said Del. Ronnie Campbell, R-24. “I’ve seen it on the state police side, and I’ve seen it on sheriff’s deputy’s side. But never realized until I started looking into this just how bad it is on the sheriff’s deputy’s side.”

“It’s hard living for a lot of these people off the salaries that they’re making, roughly around $33,000 now starting pay,” said Alleghany County Sheriff Kevin Hall. “And if you look at it with a family of four, you know, a wife and two kids, they’re qualifying for benefits if they would seek them out. A lot of officers have too much pride.”

Campbell has offered a budget amendment to change that, raising pay for a rookie deputy to $40,000 a year, and improving the pay scale as they gain experience.

“Every other agency, group, anybody that you look at, they will have some sort of career progression program where you can advance through the years and look up,” Campbell said.

“Really, I think that law enforcement needs to be equalized pay across the board for all PDs and state police and sheriff’s offices,” Hall said, “Because that way people aren’t jumping around to each agency.”

The question now is whether Campbell’s legislation, and one on the senate side, will get past urban lawmakers who only see deputies in limited duties.

“They’re still low, they’re still below where they should be for what they do,” Campbell said of his plan. “But this is really a very fair and reasonable approach I think to trying to support and take care of our law enforcement.”

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