Chesapeake, Va. (WAVY) — On Tuesday, Sheriff Jim O’Sullivan hosted the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office’s annual holiday meal for the jail platoon.
In addition to their stomachs being full, soon their pockets will be fuller too.
“It is going to be life-changing for all of us,” said O’Sullivan.
As of Jan. 1, 2022, starting pay for a deputy sheriff will be $50,326.
Current employee pay will go up accordingly, as well. O’Sullivan says he worked with city leaders to implement the sustainable pay plan for public safety officers for years to come.
The new, roughly $13 million pay plan, also allows Chesapeake to stay competitive with other localities in Hampton Roads. O’Sullivan says they’ve lost 25 deputies to other places paying more, and it’s put them in a tight place with staffing.
“Over the past two years, we’ve just seen a steady decrease. We’re not even able to cover shifts with the minimum amount of staffing without having people work overtime to do so it becomes very difficult at times,” said O’Sullivan.
As 10 On Your Side reported last week, Chesapeake City Council voted to eliminate curbside recycling in July of 2022. That move will help fund these pay raises, which help deputies like Titus Kirkpatrick.
He says he’s felt the staffing shortage squeeze, even on one of his first shifts.
“In this facility, we house over a thousand inmates, and we only had 19 deputies working that night,” said Kirkpatrick.
Kirkpatrick says this job is extremely challenging and he’s excited to be paid accordingly.
“Not even 15 minutes ago, me and some other deputies helped save an inmate’s life in the jail, and the inmate tried to commit suicide. It really takes a certain kind of person to do that, so when you’re not compensated properly it’s really discouraging when people start leaving,” said Kirkpatrick.
The pay boost is currently funded till the end of June, and O’Sullivan says they’re working to fund it through the following year.
O’Sullivan says now puts them in the top three sheriff’s offices for pay. That’s behind the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office and the Norfolk Sheriff’s Office as well.