Deputies#039; salaries average for area

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 20, 2004

How much is your life worth?

That’s an easy question to answer if you are a Butler County Sheriff’s deputy.

It’s worth exactly $76 every day that they wear the badge of Butler County.

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That totals $19,760 per year in annual salaries for deputies in Butler County.

That was the information gathered from the Alabama Sheriffs’ Association on Thursday.

Those numbers were lower until recently when the Butler County Commission approved a 3 percent raise on deputies salaries and bumped the salary to

According to Butler County Sheriff Diane Harris, there are currently nine deputies on the payroll and they watch over a population of approximately 23,000 Butler countians.

According to the state report, Crenshaw County deputies have a starting pay of $19,656 per year.

The population in that county is approximately 13,665. Butler County’s neighbor also has nine deputies on staff.

In Lowndes County, the population is 13,473 and their deputies start out at $18, 200 and they have 10 deputies on staff.

Harris said the recent raise pleased her and the deputies and it brought them up in line with other counties.

However, Harris pointed out that is base salary only.

&uot;The raise was good for the deputies,&uot; she said.

&uot;They risk their lives protecting the citizens of this county.

For that, they are also paid hazard duty pay.&uot;

So for serving on hazard duty, deputies can add an additional $2,000 to their annual base salary of $19,760, making it $21,760.

Unlike other counties, Butler County does furnish the uniforms worn by the deputies.

And to that they each get a $25 check for dry cleaning.

So that is an additional $300.

&uot;I purchase the uniforms through the county and also through the pistol permit fund,&uot; Harris said.

She said the county also furnishes the service revolver used by deputies and that is something other counties do not do.

According to Dallas County Sheriff Harris Huffman, they too furnish everything for their deputies, except a handgun.

&uot;We buy everything they need but their service weapons, he said.

&uot;We furnish bullet proof vests, automobiles, Walkie-Talkies, and we pretty much buy everything but their handguns.&uot;

He said his deputies start out at $27,300 if they have no prior minimum standards and those who do, make $28,500.

Of course, Dallas County has approximately 20,000 more people living there.

In Butler County, deputies are furnished with the same items, but they do not have to buy their own guns.

The county provides those.

So you can’t really compare Dallas and Butler counties because of the population.

However, Sheriff Harris said the raise did help tremendously.

&uot;All in all, I’m very happy that the commission saw fit to give us the raise this year,&uot; she said.

&uot;We have a lot of area to cover and I believe the commission in place now understands that.&uot;

For those who didn’t know, the BCSO does a lot more than investigate crimes in the county.

The department is responsible for security of the Butler County Courthouse, annex and also the jail.

On top of that, the department handles warrants from Alabama and outside the state, they also serve papers for local reasons, for state reasons and for those papers needing served from other states.

She did say she does not have the manpower to do all that and protect the county and that is her primary objective.

Commission Chairman Jesse McWilliams agrees that protection is the sheriff’s responsibility.

&uot;Providing safety for this county is very important thing,’ he said.

&uot;We need to make sure we keep the county safe.

That is the sheriff’s responsibility to do that and it is our responsibility to fund those needs.

The sheriff has a great responsibility to keep the citizens safe and to run the jail.

That is a big job in itself.&uot;

He also praised Jail Administrator Al McKee for his work on maintaining the jail.

He also said they would like to pay deputies more, but the revenue isn’t there to do that.

&uot;A deputy risks his life everyday,&uot; McWilliams said.

&uot;I don’t how you put dollars and cents on something like that.&uot;

He said many people take the sheriff’s department for granted until something happens.

&uot;You’re sitting there and suddenly something happens and you need them,&uot; he said.

&uot;When you have a problem, you call on them and they are there.&uot;

He said to give deputies more pay now would be a decrease in services elsewhere in the county.

McWilliams also said many people should take into consideration the amount paid by the county in addition to the salary, hazard pay and laundry fee.

The county also pays the matching funds for the deputies’ health insurance and also Social Security taxes.

So when that is added, the amount is increased significantly.

He said he is willing to do anything he can to make the county safer and he believes they have a good working relationship with the sheriff’s department now.

&uot;Working together is our goal,&uot; he said.

&uot;We have to work together to solve problems and we may not always agree, but we will always work together.&uot;