Immediate Release: September 25, 2023
Senate study reveals sheriff’s departments unable to retain deputies due to low wages and competition
OKLAHOMA CITY – Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore, held an interim study Monday to evaluate current sheriff’s deputy salaries across the state. Presenters included sheriffs from Nowata, Garvin and Wagoner counties, who each shared that they’re unable to retain deputies due to budget constraints and competition from municipal, tribal and state agencies that are able to offer higher compensation to law enforcement officers.
“We knew sheriff’s deputies were underpaid, but this study truly showed the extent of the struggles counties are facing to hire and retain deputies. One sheriff revealed that his budget only allows him to compensate jailers, dispatchers, and other essential employees at around $10 an hour, with deputies only slightly above that. That is simply not enough for these dangerous and taxing jobs,” Weaver said.
Sheriffs and legislators from Texas also joined the study virtually to share what has helped them reduce turnover and raise pay in their counties.
“Public safety should always be a top priority of government at any level,” Weaver said. “Oklahomans should be able to call their county sheriff’s department and receive the assistance they need in a timely manner. That’s not always possible when there is only one or two officers covering hundreds of square miles at a time. It will take much collaboration from the Legislature and each of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, but with ideas from our neighbors in Texas and a clearer understanding of the sheriffs’ needs, I am confident that we can come up with sensible solutions to these staffing and budget issues.”
To view the full study, visit https://oksenate.gov/live-chamber
For more information, contact: Sen. Darrell Weaver at 405-521-5569 or email Darrell.Weaver@oksenate.gov.
Weaver has 28 years of law enforcement experience and previously served as the Director of the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. The Moore Republican is also on the national board of commissioners for the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA).