May 8, 2023
Although Mayor Jacobs’s budget address didn’t come as a surprise, it was disheartening nonetheless. We are at a critical juncture in Law Enforcement in Knox County. The safety of our citizens, the schools we protect, and our officers are at risk. If we aren’t paying a competitive wage for a job that could require an officer to sacrifice their own life, ultimately, we are placing everyone in grave danger. Our surrounding sister agencies pay more; we must become competitive to recruit and retain experienced officers. With approximately 140 veteran officers eligible to retire in the coming year, the time to act is now. The safety of our citizens depends on it.
I’ve requested a 30% increase for our Law Enforcement and Corrections Captain and below. A 10% for our Chiefs and a 5% for our civilian employees who play a crucial role in assisting our officers in their day-to-day functions.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office has lagged in competitive pay for far too long, and we are now seeing the results of that with countless experienced officers leaving for other agencies that pay a livable wage.
I appreciate the Mayor’s offer of 8%. Still, as the Top Law Enforcement Officer in this county overseeing the third largest county in the state of Tennessee I could not in good conscience accept this knowing it would not come close to closing the current pay gap and therefore leave our citizens and our Officers vulnerable.
Tom Spangler, Knox County Sheriff