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Lawmakers to discuss salary increase for state law enforcement

Discussion about the state budget starts Tuesday at 3 pm.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — State lawmakers are set to start discussion on the upcoming fiscal year budget on Tuesday. Part of that budget is a proposed $30 million dedicated to state law enforcement salary increases. This increase is mainly to accommodate the decrease in recruitment.

“It’s difficult to have to deal with on a local level," Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said.

Foster said the proposed increase would mainly impact officers like state troopers, highway patrol, and SLED, not local law enforcement officers. But it could have an impact on recruitment at the local level.

“When you see a fissure between salaries, you cannot really blame a local officer, if he’s making 25% less than a state officer, you can’t blame him for trying to support his family.” Foster said.

While the state increase could be a concern for some at the local level, some cities in the Midlands Have passed their own salary increases.

The City of Columbia raised its starting salary to $45,000. Irmo also made a change to its starting salary, now starting at $48,000.

“In this day and age, we’re finding that we’re finding a lot of issues with not only recruiting quality employees but retaining those quality employees once you get them on board. And in order to do that, you have to be more competitive in the market," Major John Hendricks with the Irmo Police Department said.

Forest Acres is also discussing a proposed salary increase in its city council meeting on Tuesday.

Discussion about the state budget starts Tuesday at 3 pm.

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