‘Every little bit helps:’ Senate passes bill to increase supplemental pay for eligible law enforcement and fire service personnel
BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - During the 2023 Legislative Session, there’s been plenty of attempts by lawmakers to give teachers, law enforcement officers, and even themselves, some sort of pay increase.
Now, the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association is pushing for something similar for deputies.
Senate Bill 33 by Senator Bodi White (R), increases the amount of supplemental pay for post-certified law enforcement and fire service employees across Louisiana.
It’s something that was a sort of temporary fix made by lawmakers last year.
“What we’re asking for is that extra $100 that they made available to us, per post-certified deputy per month, with just $1200 to be made permanent,” said Iberville Parish Sheriff Brett Stassi.
Sheriff Stassi was the president of the Sheriffs’ Association last year and is one of many leaders pushing for a raise for eligible deputies across the state.
“When you’re talking about what they got to spend today at the grocery store and everything, every lit bit helps. I have 138 employees, 88 are post-certified. So those 88 would receive it and that is the frontline people,” said Sheriff Stassi.
When you crunch the numbers, it would basically give those law enforcement officers and first responders a $1200 dollar raise per year, once they become post-certified after a year on the job.
Sheriff Stassi believes this is needed especially in smaller parishes and for places like Iberville.
“When you live in the chemical corridor, the way potentially we can lose our employees once they’re highly trained to the chemical industry, we have to be able to show them that we can support them, the salary will match the job that they do,” said Stassi.
He says some chemical plants nearby are recruiting his deputies to join their security teams, with the promise of higher wages and more.
“We have 17 major chemical plants in Iberville Parish, and that’s a big pull. You get a highly qualified, highly trained deputy, they are easy targets for these chemical industries trying to get them. And getting a good deputy trained is hard to find,” said Stassi.
Stassi pay for a ‘road deputy’ in Iberville is $35,000, and that’s before they get post-certified. He believes sheriffs all over Louisiana are looking to do whatever they can, to keep talent within their departments.
The bill unanimously passed in the Senate and is now on to the House of Representatives.
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