FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - Florence County Sheriff Kenney Boone appeared before Florence County Council at their monthly meeting Thursday morning to address better pay for law enforcement officials, using the most recent October 3rd tragedy as an example of the sacrifice officers make.
"These people need to be taken care of... my concern is about how quickly we can forget," Boone said standing before council members.
Dozens of deputies joined the Sheriff at the meeting in support of his request for better pay.
At the beginning of his request, Boone shared a tribute video of the October 3rd ambush and shooting of seven officers and the two officers, the late Sergeant Terrence Carraway and Investigator Farrah Turner, who lost their lives as a result of the incident.
The video moved the entire room, causing some people to tear up.
Boone said there are detention center officers who take home around $340 a week and some deputies around $400 a week, ultimately forcing them to find more ways to make ends meet.
“I don’t see how some of these people survive.... rising cost of everything, gas, daycare, family and most of these women and men moonlighting other jobs so that means they’re away from their family even more,” Boone said.
Boone continued to say the department is losing hardworking deputies to surrounding counties like Horry County because of better pay.
"We invest a lot of money in these deputies so when they go on to someone else, not only do we lose the person and that salary, we lost the training and everything else," Boone said.
Kent Caudle, Florence County Council Chairman, said the department is requesting two and a half million dollars a year for all law enforcement and employees.
“We don’t have the capacity or the ability to raise taxes enough to fund that right now,” Caudle said.
The challenge, council members said, in part has to do with Act 388 passed in 2006. It's a state law that puts a hard cap on the amount of taxes the local government can raise.
However, Caudle said even if they were able to raise taxes it could prove to be a burden to some taxpayers
“Some people live on a very fixed income and any additional expense it’s just... it’s hard to do,” Caudle said.
Still, council members are in full support of the Sheriff’s request for better pay and said they will do whatever they can to help the people who risk their lives every day to protect ours.
“We’d love to say yea let’s go next payroll if we can do that, but we can’t... but we’re going to figure how we can get there as soon as we can,” Caudle said.
Caudle said the Sheriff is invited to next month’s meeting with the Justice of Public Safety committee to further discuss the possibility of better pay.