The problem is simple, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office needs more officers. The answer is not so simple.
Currently the Sheriff’s Road Patrol Unit has 40 slots and only 24 officers filling those slots. Officers are asked to sign up for overtime, but if not enough do sign up, it becomes mandatory. “It is not good for officers who have finished a shift to be stuck working four, or more hours. It is not good for the officer, his/her family, it is not healthy and it is not good for the community,” admitted Wayne County Sheriff Barry Virts.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel for the department. Nine officers are currently undergoing field training and should be ready to work independently join the force on or about by November 1st. Thirteen recruits will start the police academy beginning in February of 2019.
There is a downside to the new numbers however. Retention is and has been a problem within the department. The bottom line is that Wayne County simply does not pay officers matching pay with nearby counties, or even some village municipalities within the County.
Monroe County and the City of Rochester siphons off a number of officers offering higher salaries and benefit packages every year. The same occurs with the Village of Newark and Macedon Police Departments.
Sheriff Virts pointed to just one aspect an officer looks at when considering a move away from his department. While the County offers a good health policy for singles and family policies while they are employed by the County, once an officer retires, the health benefit ends entirely. Other departments offer 100% coverage after retirement.