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Sheriff in support of pay increase
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Dear Editor:

As the Sheriff of Effingham County, I am writing in support of the cost of living raise and merit raise for the hard-working deputies employed by the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office.  

Despite the struggling economy, Effingham County remains in a state of growth. Effingham County was recently named the sixth-fastest growing mid-sized county in the United States by the Census Bureau. In order to keep pace, the Sheriff’s Office must continue to obtain and retain top quality law enforcement officers; law enforcement in Effingham County must strive to keep pace with the growth within our community.

In May 2008, we sacrificed nine positions in order to compete with surrounding agencies and retain our current personnel. The pay scale for deputies at that time was not competitive with surrounding agencies. We were asking our deputies to do more for less. Prior to this, the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office was experiencing a very high turnover rate and was losing deputies to surrounding agencies that paid more.

As of recent, we have hired and retained quality deputies and we do not want to regress to our earlier state of affairs.

I firmly believe that the law enforcement officers of the Effingham County Sheriff’s Office are among the finest in the area and we want to keep it that way.  

At this point, I would like to take a moment to emphasize that the proposed cost of living increase will not affect me financially. This increase is intended to help support the very deputies which we rely on for our safety every day.

During these economic times, I am well aware that government must strive to stay as frugal as possible. However, it is imperative that we look at public safety as a must have rather than frivolous spending.

Jimmy McDuffie
Effingham County