Guilford County Sheriff Danny Rogers is making a plea for what he says is a dire need for the county to raise the pay of the men and women serving in the Guilford County Sheriff’s Department.

He said the department is seeing an exodus of good officers who are leaving to take better paying jobs at other area law enforcement agencies.  He said the current rate of loss makes it crystal clear the department needs to award pay hikes and needs to do so now.

“They need pay raises,” Rogers said this week.

He said that, recently in the news, there’s been a lot of talk about the federal government shutdown and the crisis that could result from not having enough Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers on duty, but he added that a lack of competitive pay for the officers in his department is also creating major problems.

“I’m in my own crisis with officers taking other jobs,” he said.

The sheriff said the department was down significantly on patrol officers because Guilford County has been losing them to other area agencies that provide higher pay.

“Greensboro, Gibsonville, Forsyth County …” Rogers said, reeling off a host of other names as well of surrounding law enforcement agencies where former Guilford County Sheriff’s Department officers have taken jobs recently.

For years, the Sheriff’s Department has had a well-known problem of hiring and keeping an adequate number of detention officers to staff the county’s two jails but Rogers said the pay issue is affecting the department in many areas.

According to Rogers, departing officers have even been going into other fields.

“One took a job at Pepsi – Pepsi,” Rogers said.

The sheriff said Guilford County administrators are currently looking into the matter of raises.

“They are conducting a pay study, but I can’t wait a year for them to get it done,” Rogers said.

He said that, given the importance of the jobs and the dangers that those jobs entail, the department’s employees certainly deserve to be paid a competitive wage.

“I have officers out there every day working and putting their lives on the line,” he said.

Rogers added that it simply doesn’t look good for such a large, reputable department to be underpaying its workers.

“We are the second largest in the state and we are not paying enough – give me a break,” he said.

There are a lot of things that Rogers and former Guilford County Sheriff BJ Barnes do not agree on, but the issue of higher pay for the 600-plus workers in the department isn’t one of those things.  For years, Barnes argued there was a need for higher pay throughout the Sheriff’s Department, but Rogers is now raising those pleas to a new level due to the recent significant loss of officers to other agencies and to the private sector.

The Guilford County Board of Commissioners is just weeks away from the board’s annual retreat, where the commissioners traditionally take the first real steps toward forming a county budget.  The budget will be adopted in June and go into effect on July 1 for fiscal 2019-2020.  Increases in pay traditionally happen, if they do, in the budget; however, the board has been known to offer raises at other times of the year as well.

Some commissioners – such as Commissioner Carolyn Coleman – push for higher county employee pay across the board every year, but others, such as the board’s five Republicans who control the board, have been focused on trying to find a way to pay for some major much needed capital projects.