The Guilford County Sheriff’s Department is trying hard to attract law enforcement professionals into joining, and now the minimum starting salary is over $40,000 a year.
According to information provided by the department, the minimum starting salary for someone with no experience is $40,688.
For years, the starting salary in the department remained under the $40,000 threshold. However, the latest pay numbers reflect a current all-out attempt by area law enforcement agencies like the Sheriff’s Department to attract new and experienced officers.
Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers has argued since being elected in 2018 that his officers need higher pay in order for him to keep the positions filled. Recently he told the Board of Commissioners that, in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, when a large number of officers can be out of commission at one time, it’s can be a real strain to keep a sufficient number of officers on hand.
Like former Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes, Rogers has in the past pointed to a steady loss of officers to cities and other counties that have been offering better pay and other perks.
Barnes told the Rhino Times several years ago that one reason it’s so hard to fill law enforcement jobs in recent years is that there’s been a societal shift in the way the public views the officers. Once treated with immense respect as the protectors of society, law enforcement officers nationally have come under widespread criticism and been the objects of ridicule and abuse for many protesters and others.
The Sheriff’s Department isn’t the only one seeking first responders. Both the Greensboro and High Point police departments have been taking steps to increase hiring – and Guilford County Emergency Medical Services recently began a program that fast tracks Emergency Medical Technicians who have no prior experience.
In the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department, those with experience are making more money than those without. Someone with just 2 to 4 years of “relevant certified experience,” for instance, will start at $43,943, while those with 5 to 6 years of relevant experience start at $45,700.
The salary amounts go up all along the experience scale, with someone with 15 or more years of experience now starting at nearly $57,000 a year.
According to recent promotional literature from the Sheriff’s Department, “All well-performing employees are expected to be earning a salary of [at least] $52,731 plus incentives by the end of their 4th year.”
A broad list of incentives makes the job more lucrative as well for some these days.
An associate’s degree will add in a $1,900 salary increase and a bachelor’s degree adds $3,800. A master’s degree in a relevant field can mean a $5,700 increase in salary.
Other perks exist as well. Prior active-duty military service will mean a $380 increase per year– up to a maximum of $3,800.
And, if you’re fluent in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese or Arabic and take a job with the department, you’ll see a $1,800 annual salary add-on.
The Sheriff’s Department is also offering a quality slate of benefits that include dental and vision insurance, reimbursement for some education costs, paid military leave, and participation in the state’s very generous retirement plan.
Also, entry-level employers are eligible for a “step-up” raise program that can mean pay increases of over 6.5 percent per year in the early years.