LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - In a Commissioners Court meeting on Monday, the Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office had representatives from different departments explain their need for either more staff or salary increases within their departments, explaining deputies are leaving for other better-paying positions at other law enforcement agencies.
The Lubbock County Sheriff’s Office is asking for 47 million for the next fiscal year, which starts in October. This is a seven million dollar increase from this fiscal year.
Commissioners learned more than 80 deputies left the Sheriff’s Office in the past couple of years because pay on average for a deputy is lower than other law enforcement agencies such as Texas Tech Police, school district police departments, and the Lubbock Police Department.
Commissioners learned the starting salary for a deputy is around $40,000 dollars. Representatives explained this is around ten thousand dollars less than a starting salary position at the Lubbock Police Department.
A deputy from the Narcotics team explained five of his staff left to become school police officers in the past five years. He said the hundreds of hours of training vanished and they really need people as they currently have approximately 14,000 active warrants to serve right now.
Sheriff Rowe said the timing to lose deputies is especially inconvenient with the crime increase this year.
"The violent crimes is on the increase and unfortunately narcotics is on the increase and in the distribution of that, which creates a lot of the other issues we've got. We've got a homicide rate that's blown out this year again."
So far in 2020, Lubbock County Sheriff deputies assisted with 27 murder cases, arrested 239 gang members, and arrested 109 narcotics violators. This year so far alone, there have been over 1,500 shots fired calls and the murder rate is at an all time high for the county. They’ve also seized more than $252,922.00 in assets, 4.85 kilograms of cocaine, 71.9 kilograms of meth, .82 kilos of heroin, and 187.29 kilos of marijuana.
A representative from the dispatch and communications department said they’ve had more than 25,000 calls since January with an average of 160 calls a day.
“They deserve more. I deserve more. The people of Lubbock County deserve more,” said Windy Krause, one of the leaders of the Communications department.
Sergeant Ron Holbert explained he is the only crime scene investigator and he needs a second person to help him with the job.
“I’m still the only crime scene investigator for this department. That means i’m on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” said Holbert.
Deputies explained in 2020 so far, aggravated assaults are up 29 percent from 2019 totals.
“So we’ve got to really focus on bringing those things and getting those things back under control, and we’re only going to do that if we’ve got highly qualified well trained people.” said Sheriff Rowe.
Over the past couple of years, it was mentioned some top positions that were lost to other agencies include: 2 patrol sergeants, a negotiator, three street crimes deputies, a narcotics investigator, 3 full-time SWAT deputies, a gang intelligence deputy, 2 sergeants and DRT members, and a gang intelligence coordinator.
The budget will be voted on in September for the next fiscal year, which starts in October.