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  • Writer's pictureBill Raines

Lawrence County Sheriff's Department Faced High- Turnover in the Last Twelve Months

LAWRENCE COUNTY - OCTOBER 4, 2022 - Lawrence County Sheriff Mike Branham behind closed doors prior to this morning's Lawrence County Council making his case for higher pay for his deputies, jailers, and 911 dispatchers.

The Sheriff met with the Salary Committee prior to the public meeting making his case for the raises for his public safety staff.

Lawrence County Sheriff pleas for raises begins at 4 minutes and 18 seconds into video

The total cost to the county for the high-turnover of his personnel cost the county a whopping $410,533.


From October 2021 to September 2022

  • The Lawrence County Corrections lost 12 of 26 Jail Officers

  • Required training for personnel 2 weeks on the job training

  • 1 week of required training in AED, CPR, Taser, Med Pass

  • Total wage per training - $ 3,080

  • Total wage of benefits - $ $1,828

  • Testing cost per training - $5,080 Total cost for 14 new Jailers = $70,112


Lawrence County's 911 Central Dispatch lost 7 out of 11 dispatchers in 12 months

  • Requires 8-12 weeks required training ( averages 10 weeks)

  • Total wages per dispatcher - $7,560

  • Estimated benefits per dispatcher - $2,305

  • Testing costs per dispatcher - $1,216

  • Total cost of Training for the 7 - $11,083 = $77,581

File photo


A total of 5 deputies have left the department out of 25

  • Required training per deputy - One week Pre-Basic

  • 18 Weeks Indiana Law Enforcement Academy

  • 10-14 weeks Field Training ( Average of 12 weeks)

  • Total wages per deputy - $27,182

  • Estimated benefits per deputy - $22,636

  • Testing cost per deputy $2,750

  • Total cost of Training for five deputies = $262,840

Total overall costs at Lawrence County Sheriff's Department due to turnover last 12 Months $410,533.

Lawrence County Sheriff on raises for his officers

Branham presented the council members with articiles and theories of surrounding the theories of the " Great Resignation" A recent report noticed a five percent decrease in hiring rates for police officers througout the United States.

Lawrence County Sheriff talks about staffing issues

In documents presented to the council members the following points were made:

  • What happens when there is not enough firefighters, correctional officers, dispatchers, or police officers to handle calls for service? The simple answer our community suffers.

  • Recognize that people are the single biggest resource we have. We can't stop all turnover, but excessive turnover comes with big costs to both the agency and community.

  • Recruiting sufficient members of qualified applicants to meet staffing needs of an agency is the most fundamental human resource process in a police department. The success of the department's recruitment efforts imapcts every other function in the agency.

  • As the economy rebounds, experienced officers who postponed retirement now have new opportunities for second careers. Others who become dissatisfied with the progress of their careers may seize newly found opportunities. Unfortunately, for the agency, the first pensions to leave are often the best employees simply because they have better skills and abilities to offer new employers.

  • The most frequently cited reasons by police executives of why officers leave is salary. There are a number of reasons for this claim. In many cases the level of salary, benefits, and working conditions, offered by local and state governments trail those found in the private sector or nearby agencies. Money is not a motivator, but the absence of money is a de-motivator. When an individual does not have enough money to pay his or her expenses, salary becomes more important. As a general rule of thumb, persons who are struggling to pay their bills will leave for less than five percent increase in salary.

  • To attract and retain good employees, departments must provide competitive salaries that match or exceed the market average.

  • Never before has the recruitment and retention of police personnel been as critical or as challenging for police organizations as it is today.

LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER SALARY COMPARISIONS EFFECTIVE JANUARY 2023 (Note Indiana State Police and Bloomington Police Department omitted)

  • Lawrence County Sheriff's Office Beginning Deputy 0 % - $44,450

  • Lawrence County Sheriff's Offiice Beginning Deputy 3 % - $48,778

  • Lawrence County Sheriff's Office Beginning Deputy 5% - $49,725

  • Greene County Sheriff's Department Beginning Deputy - $53,892

  • Monroe County Sheriff's Department Beginning Deputy - $$56,493

  • Orange County Sheriff's Department Beginning Deputy - $48,150

  • Jackson County Sheriff's Department Beginning Deputy - $ $45,885

  • Bedford Police Department New Officer - $52,650

  • Mitchell Police Department New Officer - $47,383

  • Local Average - $50,742


  • Lawrence County Jail Officer beginning salary 0 percent - $36,400

  • Lawrence County Jail Officer beginning salary 3 percent - $ 38,188

  • Lawrence County Jail Officer beginning salary 5 percent - $38,930

  • Local average - $40,700


  • Lawrence County 911 Central Dispatch 0 % - $36,400

  • Lawrence County 911 Central Dispatch 3 % - $38,168

  • Lawrence County 911 Central Dispatch 5 % - 38,930

  • Local average - $40,438

Locally, the City of Bedford officials last year just recently raised their pay scale for both firefighters and police officers in order at attract and retain both.

Mitchell Police Department added a $8,000 pay increase a year in order to retain it's police officers who are also losing officers to larger departments.

However, the trend of law enforcement leaving their profession can be attributed to several factors and not just pay in some locations across the United States.

Public Safety continues to be a driving factor into giving public safety officials a raise over regular government employee.

City of Bedford previously did not give but only two pay raises in 12 years, to both city employees and public safety officials. This left the city falling behind in pay scales in cities and towns across the state. However, in 2022 the public safety officials received their largest pay raise in years.

In budget years 2020, and 2021 the Lawrence County Council did not give any county employees any raises despite having the revenue to do so.

A salary study conducted by the Lawrence County Council in 2020 has not been released to the public. However, a study conducted by Lawrence County Salary committee was used to justify giving county elected officials a 17 percent raise and employees an 8 percent raise in 2022.

Lawrence County Zephyr will continue to follow developments in regards to the 2023 Budget process who will meet on Thursday to adopt the 2023 Budget.

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