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Sheriff looks to improve livelihood of future deputies
Mansfield County Meeting
Newton County's Sheriff Ezell Brown speaks in front of the council members and citizens of Mansfield, Georgia at the Mansfield Community House on Monday, June 10, 2019. Brown spoke about the new precinct in the county as well as the approved motion to increase the starting pay for county deputies. - photo by Caitlin Jett

COVINGTON, Ga. – On Monday, the Sheriff of Newton County announced the approval for an increase in the starting pay rate for deputies during the Mansfield City Council meeting.

Sheriff Ezell Brown not only expects a higher pay to increase the workforce in the county, but he also expects it to positively impact the personal lives of the county’s future deputies. He recalled a time in his career where he had to work multiple jobs to maintain a family, and he does not want future Newton County deputies to struggle to make ends meet as he did.

Brown wants future deputies to have a choice whether or not to work a part-time job, and “if they want to work a part-time job, it’s only at their wishes,” he said. 

He was bothered by the thought of retail employees earning as much, or sometimes even more, money as a person who puts their life at risk while on duty.

“It was bothersome to me - again, excuse me, I have nothing against Walmart - but when a person can go into Walmart and make the amount of money that deputies make, or make more money than a deputy is making, that’s bothersome to me,” Brown said.

An exact amount for the new starting pay rate was not stated during the council meeting; however, Brown did say that he was “looking at the rate of pay somewhere around $19 an hour.” 

He knows “there’s not a price that we can pay an officer for the loss of his or her life,” but he thinks future deputies “will be satisfied” with the increased starting rate.

There has been a high turnaround rate for deputies in the county due to low salary, according to Brown. He has noticed that once a deputy has been certified and gained experience at the Newton County Sheriff’s Office, there is a high chance the deputy will move to another county where he or she will get paid more.

Brown believes the county is “moving in the right direction” with the decision to increase the starting pay for deputies.