FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Forsyth County Sheriff Duane Piper said he wanted to raise the pay for existing and new deputies.
The Forsyth County Commissioners unanimously approved a two-grade increase (about $2,500) for all sworn officers for the classification of a Deputy Sheriff I and above.
Piper said he based his request on area police salary comparisons. He requested sheriff’s deputies salaries be somewhere between Johns Creek Police, which start at $40,000, and Milton Police, which start at $37,000 for certified peace officers.
“Basically, what we are doing is getting our pay up to a mid-range to compete within the area,” Piper said.
Piper said in addition, he wanted to have pay increases for lieutenant levels and down. Captains and up will not apply to the raises.
The raises would be funded through savings, Piper told commissioners.
The sheriff’s office has 277 peace officer positions currently filled and about 29 vacant positions.
In addition, Piper wanted to give a raise to 20 civilian positions, such as crime scene technicians and evidence custodians.
There will be a market salary study for civilian police positions before these positions get a pay raise.
In 2015, the new jail and courthouse will require an additional 73 new positions, which will cost about $200,000 annually to fill.
Piper said the raise will be funded through the sheriff’s office budget for the rest of the year and through next year with about $2.8 million of savings.
Piper said the standards were raised when he took office and the deputies who are leaving the sheriff’s office don’t want to meet those standards.
“We want to improve the officers who apply,” Pipers said, “and we want to keep the officers we have.”