Kershaw County Sheriff loses recruits to low salaries

Published: Feb. 9, 2016 at 12:29 AM EST|Updated: Feb. 19, 2016 at 12:29 AM EST
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KERSHAW COUNTY, SC (WIS) - The Kershaw County Sheriff's Department is looking to expand its team -- but Sheriff Jim Matthews says that's easier said than done.

Matthews says his best deputies started backing out after riots broke out in communities like Ferguson, Missouri, saying today's atmosphere around law enforcement makes young recruits feel there's too much risk. On top of that, Matthews says there's not enough pay.

For those who haven't completed the Criminal Justice Academy, new employees must start in the civil division making $26,000. Once they complete the academy, the pay gradually grows to $32,000.

"We don't lose deputies to some of these other low-paying counties," Matthews said. "We lose them to the higher paying counties. When you have deputies that leave counties that pay more. When they look at us, because they want to move to Kershaw County or in this vicinity, they look at the pay scale and say 'thank you, but no thank you.'"

Despite other local departments sharing similar concerns, the South Carolina Justice Academy reports no drop in class size. In fact, the academy has increased its class size in recent years to meet demands.

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