Some ETX deputies petitioning for a pay raise

Some ETX deputies petitioning for a pay raise

Deputies with one ArkLaTex sheriff's office say they are financially being left behind and hope their county government will do something about it.

For the past few days, some Bowie County, Texas, sheriff's deputies have spent their time off patrolling the community for support.

They are gathering signatures on a petition to try to get a pay increase, something they say they have done without since 2008.

The law officers need the signatures of at least 6,000 registered voters in Bowie County before their request can be given to county commissioners.

Deputies say they want the petition drive completed by Aug. 1 so the issue can be on the November ballot if an election is called.

The deputies want their salaries to be comparable to that of officers with the Texarkana, Texas, Police Department.

A patrol deputy's salary is $37,030 a year, regardless of their tenure. The beginning salary for a Texarkana, Texas, police officer is $38,386 a year with annual increases.

"We have a lot of highly qualified deputies that we would like to retain," said Jeff Neal, one of Bowie County's 36 deputies. "We know we have some of them are looking. And we had one that recently left to go to DPS, and the ultimate goal for that was better pay."

Citing Texas law, the deputies say once county commissioners receive the petition, the court could adopt the minimum salary stated in the petition, offer an alternative minimum salary or call an election on the proposed minimum salary.

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