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Pay disparity ends for Virginia Beach Sheriff's Office

Virginia Beach City Council approved an ordinance to include the sheriff's office to have the same pay benefits as the police department.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach Sheriff’s deputies will get more funds from the city budget for education and longevity incentive pay.

This was a pay disparity concern Sheriff Ken Stolle has for years pushed for.

In 2019, the City of Virginia Beach released a study showing a significant gap in pay between the sheriff's office and the police department employees.

Stolle said his deputies will now get the salaries they deserve. “It will have an impact on every deputy here," he said.

Stolle said the city council amended a pay parity ordinance on January 4. The sheriff said he has advocated for the same pay and benefits that the police department gets since 2018, when the first ordinance was approved.

“It means a lot to us because number one, they now have a history of following the pay parity which is important to us because we don't want to fight this every year," he said.

Stolle said he will divide $580,000 from the new ordinance to give deputies increases if they are seeking higher education and stay longer on the force.

“Education is a big incentive. And I think that longevity is a huge incentive. The thing is that you get paid for staying here higher than you do if you leave and it increases your retirement," he said.

Stolle said right now, the Sheriff's Office has 42 vacancies.

“We are short in the jail deputies, we’re short in the courthouse. So I think whenever you’re short on deputies it leads to some increased risks," Stolle explained.

He said the pay increases will help keep and recruit new deputies.

“It’s a lot cheaper to have an additional deputy than it is to pay a deputy time and a half to work. And so we’re [currently] having to pay all these deputies time and a half to work and so it saves money for the city and it will make a safer environment for the city," he said.

Stolle said he already has some candidates filling out applications because of the incentives. He's also requested that city council add the Virginia Beach Fire Department and EMS to the pay parity ordinance. He said they will look into how they fit into the budget.