Greenville County Council’s meeting Tuesday night was packed with dozens of deputies to support a member of their ranks who asked council for more funding. The meeting included the first reading of the county’s proposed budget for fiscal years 2020 and 2021. The County lists public safety as its top priority in the proposed budget. 

Lt. Dallas Gladson described the Sherriff’s Office as understaffed, underpaid, and overworked.

“We’re working our rear ends off, and we need to be paid accordingly,” Gladson said.

According to Gladson, deputies in Greenville County are paid less than law enforcement officers at nearby agencies, and they’re struggling to recruit and retain deputies.

“If things do not change and do not change quickly, this agency will be crippled,” he said.

He also said Greenville City Police Officers make thousands of dollars more per year and receive a four to eight pecent increase annually. 

“We’ve only gotten a two percent raise over the last several years,” Gladson said. “That’s not even enough to cover the cost of living.” 

In the meantime, Greenville County has grown, and their call volume has increased tenfold, according to Gladson. He said they have so few deputies that sometimes they have just 17 people patrolling the streets for the entire county. That’s 17 deputies responding to calls for more than half a million people over nearly 800 square miles. 

“That’s not acceptable,” he said. “Greenville County is not a county that’s struggling financially.”

The proposed budget inlcludes allowances, recommending hiring 28 new deputies and raising county employees pay by 2.5 percent. 

“Just offering new positions they can’t fill is a waste of time, and it’s not sincere,” said Council member Rick Roberts.

The county has commissioned a study and set aside $2 million to address funding needs of the Sheriff’s Office.