LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Angelina County Sheriff Greg Sanches is looking for more deputies and higher salaries in the future.
The discussion came up after Sanches presented a budget amendment at Commissioner's Court that would allow for them to make a deputy at the courthouse a sergeant and move another deputy to a detective with a lower salary than normal so they could stay in budget.
There was much discussion over the issue, and in the end, the court agreed with the sheriff's request to make the deputy a sergeant. However, they decided to keep the other deputy at the same classification but in a training mode with detectives. Sanches pointed out that the issue shows more man power is needed.
"It's been 20 years since a major increase in manpower," Sanches said. "We have 5 patrol deputies on a shift and four shifts. They are not always full shifts for various reasons, so it shows we are behind."
Angelina County Deputies make $39,312 to start out. Detectives $39,832. A quick search found Lufkin Police officers start off at $44,686. Angelina County sits between Hunt and Orange County in population.
Hunt County deputies make $36,000. Sheriff Randy Meeks said that amount is after a raise of $1,040 was put in last year's budget. Meeks said he is also seeking more pay for his deputies. Orange County deputies bring in two different amounts based on workload. Deputies that work 12-hour shifts make $59,948.08. Deputies that work 8-hour shifts make $47,579.60.
County Judge Wes Suiter pointed out all employees across the county got a 4% raise last year and loss of industry is not helping with any discussion of raises.
"It's not just at the sheriff's office," Suiter said. "It's every employee at Angelina County making below what they should be making, but we pay what we can pay. Look around East Texas. We have one of the lowest tax rates. How could we ask our citizens to pay more taxes when they are hurting?"
With 35 county departments, Suiter said it may not be feasible.
"If you look at one department about giving them raises, you have to look at cutting somewhere else. So where do we cut? And right now I think every department is at bare bones," Suiter said.
Sanches said he is not backing down from his request.
"What I have a problem with is the attitude that well, it's just an Angelina County deputy, and it's okay for them to make less pay," Sanches said. "If you go to the memorial at the courthouse, you will see two deputies' names and a sheriff that were killed in the line of duty. We are out there risking our lives."
Suiter said he would consider looking at raises and manpower increases once the budget workshop process starts in the summer.