The Williamson County Commissioners Court approved pay-scale increases for sheriff’s office personnel Jan. 24, raising wages to the highest starting salary for corrections officers in the state.

County Judge Bill Gravell called it the most significant pay increase for law enforcement and corrections officers in the county’s 175-year history, increasing the county’s budget next year by $4.4 million.

“I think the proposed salaries that we’re talking about today aren’t good; I think they move us to a level of great,” Gravell said. “We have underserved the [law enforcement] and corrections community, especially, and I believe that this is the step that gets us there.”

The new starting salary for corrections officers, beginning Feb. 3, is $51,000, up from $42,153. The change in salaries includes annual raises worked into the pay chart. Corrections peace officers, sergeants, lieutenants and commanders also received pay increases, in addition to raises for sheriff’s office deputies, sergeants, constables, lieutenants and commanders, dependent on years of service.

“This will allow the sheriff’s office to boost recruitment for corrections officers and help fix the current staffing issues in the jail,” said Charles Duvall, acting president of the Williamson County Sheriff Deputies Association. “These scales fix the issues with promotions where officers and deputies were taking pay cuts to promote within the sheriff’s office.”

The pay bump comes after entry-level corrections positions in Travis and Hays counties were raised in August 2022 to $50,000 and $50,013, respectively. Williamson County has 62 open deputy corrections positions.

“To say we’re going to fill all the spots is probably unrealistic, but it should go a long way to hitting those pressure points and filling the positions,” Precinct 4 Commissioner Russ Boles said.