Sheriff urges salary increases, says drugs, gangs threats to Lub - FOX34 Lubbock

Sheriff urges salary increases, says drugs, gangs threats to Lubbock

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LUBBOCK -

Drugs and gang violence have permeated Lubbock County -- all parts of it -- according to the Sheriff's Office. To fight it, Sheriff Kelly Rowe advocated for more money for his department this next fiscal year.

He says the department is also struggling with retaining good deputies. Rowe puts the blame for that squarely on salaries, saying his agency has fallen behind all others in the area.

The sheriff notes this especially comes into play with inter-agency partnerships like the Texas Anti-Gang Unit. It matches deputies with agents from other departments, including other counties, plus state and federal agencies.

"That is kind of a hard pill to swallow," Sheriff Rowe said. "When you're with two or three other people that their salary is twice, or nearly twice what you're making, doing the exact same job every day."

Rowe's deputies noted during the budget meeting that Lubbock is growing more dangerous. Warrant deputies report arresting 239 gang members just in the first half of this year.

"We are losing thousands upon thousands of training hours, years of experience to other agencies because we're just not competitive," Rowe said.

Jailers told commissioners they act as counselors, nurses, teachers and mentors to the inmates they are tasked with rehabilitating. 

Rowe warns combining all this with the uncertainty of more police restrictions and mandates from the state can make law enforcement an unattractive profession.

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