Bryan County commissioners approve raises for Sheriff's deputies

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BRYAN COUNTY, OK -- As county officials take a second look at the budget, they say public safety is an issue they can't afford to get wrong.

That's why commissioners decided to give raises to the Sheriff's Office deputies.

"It was kind of a consensus among that board that since they have to do more, we pay them more," said commissioner Jay Perry.

Sheriff Ken Golden said the raises are long overdue.

"Other county employees were on budget for the past year making like $23 [hundred], $25 [hundred] a month," he said. "And I still had employees making $2,055."

Commissioners increased his deputies' pay to $2,520 a month, which Golden said they deserve for their workload.

"Days, nights, weekends, holidays. Anybody that watches TV knows that we've got officers out on calls all the time," he said.

And Golden said this "hazard pay" is important to make sure they don't lose qualified employees.

"You've gotta have these people to get the job done as best you can," he said.

But finding the money is the next hurdle.

"So if I've got one that's making $2,000, not only do I have to bring him up $500, but I also have to bring his benefits package up too," Golden said.

Commissioners say they'll look at the general budget and cash accounts - but the problem is cash accounts fluctuate.

"But that does not mean that as a board, that we can't take care of our employees. Because the whole point of making a budget is to fund that department, and to make sure they have ample money for their needs," Perry said.

Officials will pick back up budget discussions next week. Golden and commissioners both said they're confident they'll find the money to make the raises happen.

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