CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Official numbers provided by the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) show that from January to September of this year, the number of sworn-in detention center deputies has increased from 193 to 207, and officials say the increase in staffing is due in large part to the pay adjustment that went into effect earlier this year.

Despite the current staffing shortage, CCSO officials say there’s reason for optimism.

“Since January when we had our pay adjustment for salaries,” CCSO’s communications director Amber Allen said, “we saw a real increase in interest in working at the detention center.”

Allen says that pay adjustment increased deputies’ pay significantly.

“They’re starting base salary increased by $10,000,” she said. “So, their baseline is $46,000 a year, and there lots of opportunities for pay adjustments, increases every year for the first couple of years.”

Reports show deputy vacancies at the Al Cannon Detention Center were at 111 in January, and that number has now dropped to 95. But even with the shortage, Allen says they’re in a better position now, than in years prior.

“The shortage at the jail is not anything new,” she said, “but it is definitely better than it has been over the past five years.”

Allen says other counties across the state with detention centers are also experiencing shortages, which she says may be due to the challenges of the job.

“The people who work in our facility are highly trained,” Allen said, “highly qualified. They love the atmosphere, and they have a great comradery. It’s a great place to work, it’s just not your typical job.”

She expects more vacancies to be filled through the remainder of the year and into 2024.

“Especially with the new pay adjustments,” Allen said, “it’s definitely been the best tool in our toolbox in recruiting new people. People want to be compensated for the work that they do, and they feel better about how they are being taken care of here at the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.”

Allen says CCSO is actively trying to fill those remaining vacancies by participating in recruitment events and advertising online and on TV.