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Sheriff: Increase Budget for Raises, New Hires

Sheriff L.C. Knight made a special presentation to County Council Monday.

Dorchester County Council Chair Larry Hargett described the numbers as "astronomical" — that's the difference between a Dorchester County deputy's pay and opportunities for raises, and the pay and opportunities for raises for an officer in the same job at a nearby jurisdiction.

Sheriff L.C. Knight pleaded with council Monday during its regular meeting to allow for a budget increase, which would give raises to deputies and hire new deputies.

"Since my four years in office, I haven't had anybody budgeted to me in law enforcement or detention," Knight said. "It's a dual problem ... (An increased budget) will help me recruit them, get them in the door and it will also help me keep them."

During Knight's campaign against a fellow Republican in the primary, he had talked about the constrained budget and desire to increase pay to his deputies. He goes into the general election unopposed.

Knight handed out seven-page report which detailed the lack of raises among deputies and the enticing paying of neighboring law enforcement. He cited losing a deputy to North Charleston Police, who received a $5,000 pay raise for the same job he was doing with the county. 

Here are some of the numbers:

  • Certified deputies hired at $33,861
  • No pay increase for length of service, for step increase after five years of employment, performance evaluation, education completion, or bi-lingual experience

Here are the numbers for nearby jurisdictions Knight reported:

  • Charleston Police: starting salary is $38,000, 2 percent pay increase based on training in first two years, and 5 percent pay increase based on certification in first year
  • Mount Pleasant: starting, uncertified officers earn $35,958 and pay raises based on annual performance reviews
  • North Charleston Police:starting, uncertified officers earn $35,616, pay raises based on annual performance reviews, bonuses offered on length of service, and tuition reimbursement for extra schooling
  • Charleston County: starting salary is $33,758 with mid-level patrolman earning $40,227, and salary increases based on performance evaluation and longevity
  • Summerville Police: Certified officers start at $31,500, cost of living pay increases each year based on town council approval, police chief has 15 percent to negotiate pay of new hires
  • Goose Creek Police: Certified officers start at $31,069 with increases based on experience, time and education; and an annual increase is available between 3-5 percent
  • Berkeley County: Certified deputies begin at $31,010.08, which can be increased up to 15 percent for experience and education; the sheriff's office is converting to a five-band system where experience, performance and time on the job are factored in — once approved the starting salary will increase.
Gretchen September 18, 2012 at 01:10 PM
The residents of Dorchester County should be ashamed paying a deputy only $33,000 a year. Low taxes are fine... but there is a limit. Some services need more money in the budget in order to get experienced, trained people. These police officers put their lives in danger every day for the residents. Aren't they WORTH more than $33,000 a year. Come on people ! ! !
Taxation September 18, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Raises for these deputies should have been a priority over a new Jail. Why cant we house inmates in tents like Sheriff Joe in Arizona?
KB September 18, 2012 at 02:30 PM
How about raises for the deputies instead of purchasing more swamp land for parks.
War vet May 26, 2013 at 06:07 PM
Maybe "we" as a community can attempt to have fundraisers throughout the year to raise money for the local police,fire and emergency services. I will be the first to donate.
stanley seigler May 26, 2013 at 08:19 PM
and we could have cake sales...then have budget surpluses (as slick did) thus reducing the debt... all seriousness aside...as mentioned on other PATCH threads...pols need to prioritize...perhaps pass a law requiring they list their priorities as part of the budget process...ie/eg...a state plane #1...education at the end of the list

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