Ken Evans, chief deputy for the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office, said the requested pay increases will help the county recruit and retain law enforcement officers through compensation that remains competitive with other local law enforcement agencies.
The sheriff’s office is asking commissioners to adjust the department’s funding policy to maintain compensation across the board at 1% above the median pay from other local law enforcement departments across Williamson County.
“We’re asking to change the methodology,” Evans said. “We can't keep raising the standards on how we keep people accountable and not compensate according to that.”
According to a presentation shown during the Aug. 3 commissioners court meeting, Williamson County officers make less than police officers in Cedar Park, Round Rock, Leander, Georgetown and Hutto. The Cedar Park Police Department pays its officers up to 23% more than officers within the Williamson County Sheriff’s Office.
The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office accounts for 23% of the Williamson County district attorney’s filings, Evans’ presentation showed.
“We don’t want to be first [in the county,] we just want to be in the market,” Williamson County Sheriff Mike Gleason said at the Aug. 3 commissioners court meeting.
DISTRICT ATTORNEY REQUESTS NEW PROSECUTORS
Following the presentation from the sheriff’s office, Williamson County District Attorney Shawn Dick on Aug. 3 requested extra budget funds to hire two new special prosecutors for his office.
Dick wants to bring in an appellate prosecutor and a child abuse prosecutor for the county—two positions the district attorney said he has requested funds to hire for the past several years.
“I need these two positions, and I need them funded at 15% above the bottom of the grade,” Dick said to commissioners.
The appellate prosecutor is not a trial lawyer, but is responsible to “protect the integrity” of the district attorney’s office’s convictions by defending the work of the county’s trial prosecutors in appellate courts.
“An appellate prosecutor ensures prosecutions are good on the front end,” Dick said.
Dick told commissioners the requested child abuse prosecutor is necessary as child abuse cases continue to grow in Williamson County. According to a presentation shown on Aug. 3, Williamson County had 96 sexual offenses against children submitted to the district attorney’s office in 2020. The county is on pace to report more than 110 in 2021, Dick said.
“We're trying to be at the forefront and be proactive,” Dick said.
The budget amendment requests from the sheriff’s office and the district attorney’s office may be considered for a vote at next week’s commissioners court meeting. Commissioners vote on the final Williamson County fiscal year 2021-22 budget on Aug. 31.