Richland County commissioners allocate $600,000 for retention bonuses

The Richland County commissioners are going to spend a significant amount of money to continue to keep county residents safe. The board voted on Tuesday to allocate up to $600,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds to retain deputies and corrections officers and attract new personnel to the Richland County Sheriff’s Office.

Under the plan, current employees and new hires who have been with the department for at least six months will be paid $1,250 retention stipends at the end of December. Similar payments will be made at the end of June and December 2023 and the end of June 2024.

Chief Deputy Major Joe Masi said the department is losing personnel mainly through retirement, although there are also those that are transferor to other departments or going to other careers. Patrol and corrections operations are down a combined 25 to 30 people.

Masi said the hardest part is finding qualified people.

“We’re basically in competition with other law enforcement agencies,” he said. “The numbers aren’t there. People aren’t going into law enforcement as a career like they were 10, 20, 30 years ago.”

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