Raises wages to raise retention for Josephine County law enforcement

Josephine County Sheriff vehicle (News 10)

The Josephine County Board of Commissioners approved raises for sheriff's office employees at a meeting on Wednesday.

The sheriff's office has been trying to increase staffing, a campaign promise Sheriff Dave Daniel ran on. However, to do so, the sheriff's office is tasked with both finding and keeping their deputies. That requires the county to offer a high enough wage to prevent officers from training - which can be a significant expense in and of itself - and then leaving for higher paying jobs once they've learned the ropes.

County Commissioner Dan DeYoung says that the grants they've received in the past have been helpful for bringing new people on board, but to stay competitive, there's no substitute for offering a higher salary.

"We've spent the money to train the officers, train the deputies, we get four or five months out of them, we can't afford to do it again, so we lose them," Commissioner DeYoung said. "So we want something a little more concrete, a little more year after year."

Sheriff office employees were given a 1.5 percent raise in July of last year, but before that, they had gone five years without one. Employees will see an average of about a 5 percent increase in wages, effective immediately.

This is part of a larger push by the county to up their law enforcement presence. In the past year, they have brought on more officers, including a patrol in the Illinois Valley, but they still rely on Oregon State Police for major crime investigations.

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