In a continuing discussion that started last commissioners court, the Austin County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the court’s permission to begin paying for cadet’s training at the police academy as well as pay for them for their time while they are in the academy. The topic was brought back to court after the court previously wanted some form of safeguards in place that would force a period of time/service commitment to be in place on the part of the cadet before this idea was even entertained. The Sheriff’s Department added a 2-year commitment to the contract in compliance with the courts request.
The Sheriff’s Office has expressed difficulty in finding and keeping qualified patrol staff to meet the necessary needs of the county. This is why they are seeking this incentive be added in order to give them the additional tools to attract candidates. The cadet would be paid the same amount as an entry level probationary deputy.
Several concerns were brought forth by members of the court including Judge Tim Lapham. Besides the additional expense, most of the concerns centered around the fairness of the change in policy. One issue sited was someone who isn’t even an officer yet being paid the same as someone who is already “on the street”. Additionally, how will those who are working and did not receive this benefit react? There was no action on the item taken pending additional comparisons with the proposed policy compared to what other counties are doing.
You can watch the complete discussion below from the 00:45:27 to 01:13:51 mark of the video below: