FORSYTH, Ga. — Willie Barkley types up reports. He doesn’t mind the tedious work during his shift at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
"I’m from Monroe County, so I’ve come to give back to my community, and I love my job," says Barkley.
Barkley says getting an extra few dollars hourly would help in supporting his family.
"Whenever everybody tends to run away from danger, we’re the ones that actually go to it and try to prevent bodily harm, or even try to save people on a daily basis. It has its ups and downs," says Barkley.
Sheriff Brad Freeman says they are struggling to bring in new deputies. After speaking with county commissioners, they decided to work to increase deputies' salaries.
"Now you have 10 openings, and you have five people show up to take the first physical fitness test, which is the first phase of the hiring process, and we are excited when five people show up. That’s pretty sad," says Freeman.
Deputies get nearly $17 an hour, but Sheriff Freeman hopes to bump that up a few dollars.
The sheriff’s office and commissioners had the University of Georgia conduct a salary study.
The study will show what other agencies their size pay employees, and provides several pay-grade options for commissioners to choose from.
"Of all the counties that border Monroe, I believe that Crawford County pays less than than we do," says Freeman.
Freeman says he wants the salary in Monroe County to be competitive against other agencies around Central Georgia.
"We’d love to not only meet them, but actually beat them and become one of the highest-paying agencies in Middle Georgia, so they would have to come up to our standards.," says Freeman.
Barkley says he is looking forward to a pay raise, but says regardless, law enforcement is his calling.
"Without hesitation, without any type of doubt on what we’re doing, we were chosen to do this job," says Barkley.
Sheriff Freeman says they are on track to present the pay raise options for county commissioners to vote on some time in November.
He says he hopes that deputies would receive the raise by the new year.
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