TYLER (KYTX)-Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith presented his budget proposal at Commissioner's Court today.
In the eighteen months thatSmithh has been in office, there hasn't been one lawsuit filed against the sheriff's office.
"We're operating at what I feel it to be a higher level of service and we can't keep going at this level with the current budget we have," Smith said.
The sheriff says the main problem is keeping employees. In a year an a half, one third of his staff has left.
"The lack of retention is directly related to people having to work and getting only one day off for instance," Smith said. "That's directly related to being understaffed which is directly related to being able to retain employees which is directly related to the non- competitive salaries and benefit packages we have now."
Non competitive salaries and costly benefit packages are causing employees to leave for other law enforcement agencies right down the road.
"I just lost a detective that been a detective for a couple years to Tyler Police Department. He was a detective with me and he goes to be a rookie police officer with Tyler making more money than he is here," Smith said.
The commissioners warned Smith that other departments need money too.
"We have other departments within the county as we need to consider as well so as we go about making our decisions we have to consider all of our employees," Commissioner Joann Hampton said.
"How many other employees have to wear a bullet proof vest to work," Smith said.
"Sheriff, these people may have to wear a bullet proof vest to work, these other people also work for the county. Our county employees are our best assets so we have to do whatever we do for one for all," Hampton said.
People spoke to the court in support of the sheriff's department.
"I ask the commissioners to address this serious issue of non competitive pay scale structure that is being passed down to the smith co sheriffs department, Smith County resident Bill Goeking said.
The sheriff also requested additional jailers for the new jail, new patrol cars and more dispatchers.
The court will review the sheriff's budget along with budgets from other departments and make decisions at a later date.