Recently, the Carroll County Times reported on our sheriff and state's attorney seeking pay increases for the next election cycle. A related editorial asked whether the salaries for Carroll County employees' are too low. I am the president of Carroll County's Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 20, and I am writing to confirm that Carroll County has some of the lowest-paid police in the state.
Every day the national media has a story about a police shooting, or a negative article claiming misconduct by an officer. The Times recently printed an article on local deputies leaving for higher pay or to start another career outside of law enforcement ("Sheriff's Office Loses Three Deputies" – Jan. 13, 2017). One deputy left the agency to start an entirely new career, citing the current negative atmosphere in law enforcement as his reason for leaving. Thankfully, that negative atmosphere is not evident in Carroll County and law enforcement is very well supported by our citizens.
Law enforcement personnel in Carroll County do an outstanding job, frequently resorting to their training and experience to diffuse and de-escalate difficult situations that could've brought the national spotlight to Carroll County. The crime rate in Carroll County is low and has been for years. That low crime rate is directly attributable to the quality of policing in the county. The same policing that is being underpaid. Compared to agencies of similar size and responsibilities like Harford, Frederick and St. Mary's counties, Carroll County Sheriff's patrol deputies are paid on average 11 percent lower than those agencies. The disparity continues as a deputy goes up in rank and takes on additional responsibilities, with an average of 20-30 percent lower pay than these same agencies. This is also the case for corrections deputies and officers from Carroll municipalities as they are paid significantly lower salaries across the board than their counterparts in other counties.
It is not my intention to paint a picture of doom and gloom as there are a lot of good benefits to working in Carroll County and I know that Carroll County Sheriff's deputies take special pride in the quality of their work. Nor should the current situation be attributed to the current Board of Commissioners as they inherited this problem; however, they do have an opportunity to right the ship and I think it is incumbent on them to do so.
The writer is the president of Carroll County FOP Lodge 20.