Thomas County commissioners say deputies are underpaid for their work in the line of duty. Law enforcement officials are held to high standards when it comes to protecting and serving, but county commissioners say Thomas County deputies’ starting pay is among the lowest in southwest Georgia, so commissioners want to increase it.
"There's a possibility that we can some of the deputies that are in entry level and raise them almost immediately, however to give everybody in the whole county system a raise it's just not feasible," says Elaine Mays, Thomas County Commissioner.
Elaine Mays says it will cost well over $300,000 to increase every deputy's pay, and that much money is not in the budget. The Thomas County Sheriff's Department did not want to comment on the matter, but residents have plenty to say.
"They put their life on the line everyday for our benefit and many times we don't really appreciate their daily effort, but they render a valuable service to society and I think they should get a raise," says Glenn Hobby, a Thomas County resident.
"We know we can't make everyone happy but we're going to look at this and do something for at least the lower deputies who started at this level," adds Commissioner Mays.
Commissioners say they recognize how invaluable all law enforcement officers are, but for now this is all they can do. Commissioners will meet to discuss how to go about funding the pay raises and they will consider looking at all county employees' salary.