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Taylor County Sheriff's Department salaries may go up - but not by much

By Jennifer Kendall, jkendall@ktxs.com
Published On: Jul 17 2013 09:52:38 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 18 2013 07:32:12 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

Taylor County Sheriff deputies and corrections officers won't get the salary increases they were hoping for this year.

Sheriff Ricky Bishop met with the Commissioners Court to go over his budget request for his department for next year, but what's was most interesting is what wasn't in his request, salary increases for officers.

During a KTXS televised debate in 2012, Ricky Bishop, who was seeking the Taylor County Sheriff's job said, "I haven't heard a pay raise asked for in open court yet for anyone. And I'm going to, along with my staff, we're going to go to those commissioners and fight for a pay raise."

Now, Bishop's upset that he won't be able to follow through on his promise to increase salaries for deputies and corrections officers. He’s learned the process is more difficult than he thought.

"A pay committee has been formed by commissioners a little over a year ago and any pay raises have to go through that committee," said Bishop.

That prevents department heads from asking the commissioners for salary increases during their budget request.

Taylor County deputies are some of the lowest paid in the state.

"Even when I was on patrol we'd been told for years that, ‘hey you're going to get a pay increase next year’, and then that next year came and it's going to be next year, so it's going to be that way again this year, unfortunately, they're going to have to wait until next year for a proposal to hopefully get them brought up a little bit," said Bishop.

The sheriff said without a big increase in salaries, Taylor County will continue to lose good officers.

"They’re leaving and going to be car salesmen, we've got several leaving for Abilene Police Department, DPS, and a few going to the oil field, and there's even some going into fast food," said Bishop.  

Bishop said it's not over yet.

"We’re trying and we're going to keep trying and I’m not going to give up till I get something done," said Bishop. 

Deputies and corrections officers could still receive a 1.75 percent cost of living increase and an up to 2 percent merit increase this year.

Starting salary for a Taylor County deputy is just below $26,000.

During the meeting, Sheriff Bishop asked the commissioners for 11 additional officer positions. He also requested new equipment, vehicles and a nurse for the jail.