SULLIVAN COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — Sullivan County Sheriff’s Deputies will receive a $10,000 raise that is expected to keep Sheriff’s Deputy vacancies to a minimum.

According to Sullivan County Sheriff Clark Cottom, it takes nearly a year to hire and train a Sheriff’s Deputy. Cottom said that having a vacancy for such a long time period puts a strain on the current staff. Equally, these long-term vacancies could present a safety risk.

“The other deputies have to work overtime and longer hours because of the vacancies,” Cottom explained. “It can trickle down to where it means less cars on the road and that’s not a good thing.”

Cottom said that it’s difficult for smaller agencies to retain employees. He cited that the previously lower pay for Sheriff’s Deputies resulted in larger agencies coming in to hire them for their services.

He also said that this pay raise could help alleviate that issue.

“We’ve had multiple officers that have left this department and went on to better paying departments,” Cottom said. “So you have to have incentive to keep these officers here.”

Cottom stressed that the work done at the Sheriff’s Office is a team effort and he pointed out the great work done by Corrections Officers, Dispatchers and Deputies. Sullivan County Councilman Curt Bedwell said that it’s a possibility that the council could approve a pay raise for these employees in the future.

“I feel strongly that it should happen for the entire Sheriff’s department and full-time ambulance workers,” Bedwell said. “They all deserve a long overdue healthy raise to get their pay up to where it should be.”

In terms of the Sheriff’s Deputies pay, Bedwell stated that the decision to raise their pay was a long-awaited move.

“As time has progressed and society’s wages have increased, our county has not kept up with that change,” Bedwell said. “This pay raise has been long overdue.”