Oklahoma's Own In Focus: Tulsa County Approves Pay Raises For Deputies

Tulsa County approves a major pay raise for sheriff's deputies. County Commissioners and other elected officials voted to reallocate more money from the county's general fund to pay for the higher salaries.

Tuesday, April 16th 2024, 5:11 pm



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Tulsa County approved a major pay raise for sheriff's deputies. County Commissioners and other elected officials voted to reallocate more money from the county's general fund to pay for the higher salaries.

The raise bumps starting pay for a first-year CLEET certified deputy from nearly $46,000 a year to $60,000. This also means deputies who have been there for ten years will now earn $90,000. 

Sheriff Vic Regalado says this will go a long way toward recruiting top deputies.

"It makes us competitive. Right now, everyone is kind of fishing out of the same pond trying to get the same type of talent to come work in law enforcement, so it puts us right there,” said Regalado.

The raises go into effect in August.

How Will The Pay Raises Affect Deputies?

In this Oklahoma's Own in Focus, we take a deeper look at how this pay raise will affect deputies who have been serving at the sheriff's office for several years.

News On 6's Reagan Ledbetter rode along with a deputy who has been with the department for more than two decades and who says this raise means everything to him.

Like many in law enforcement, Sergeant LaMont Hill didn't sign up for this job to get rich. He says he became a deputy and has stayed a deputy for 23 years because he has a duty and a calling to serve his community, but he says it feels good to finally get paid what he's worth.

"I started here at the Sheriff's Office in September of 2001, a week shy of my 22nd birthday,” said Hill.

Hill has done it all in his 23 years as a Tulsa County Deputy.

"Put people in jail, towed cars, worked all three shifts, day, evenings, midnights, just being out here in the public, out here in the community,” said Hill.

Sergeant Hill says there was a 12-year period where deputies didn't get any raises and a lot of deputies have to work a part time job to make ends meet. Hill says he has a passion for serving people and that’s why he’s stayed. Hill's 23 years of service and rank as sergeant means he'll now make more than $90,000 a year.

"It is life-changing money no matter who you are. Whenever you are able to go from mediocre, to up to a higher level, it’s a positive. It'll make things a lot easier on me and everyone who works here,” said Hill.

Sheriff Regalado says this pay raise is historic. He says it will make the department more competitive in recruiting, it will make the pay scale equal for all, and will help pay deputies for their hard work.

"It's worth it. They are worth it. The work they do is worth it. The value they have to public safety in the county makes it all worth it,” said Regalado.

Regalado says he hopes this encourages people who left law enforcement to come back and encourages those interested in law enforcement to make the jump.

"We are going to pay you more, but the expectation is also going to rise with that. We expect you to do your job above and beyond to give the public what they deserve, and that is a professional sheriff's office,” said Regalado.

"We work the people. The people deserve the highest quality of service we can give them,” said Hill.

These pay raises will apply to all CLEET certified deputies, so this includes courthouse deputies, patrol and detectives. There will be yearly pay increases and more pay incentives for deputies who earn higher ranks.

How Does TCSO stack up?

This pay raise puts the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office near the top of the pay scale for other local and state law enforcement agencies.

The first year pay for certified officers at the Tulsa Police Department is $61,000. For Broken Arrow, it's $63,000. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol offers $66,000 to step 1 troopers, and the Oklahoma County Sheriff's office pays first year CLEET certified deputies $51,000.

The Tulsa County raise puts them fourth in Green Country and takes effect in August.

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