The Bowie County Sheriff’s Office is in trouble. Recent decisions by the Bowie County Commissioners regarding deputy pay and finances associated to the Sheriff’s Department will put many deputies in a financial crisis.
Recently, Bowie County Deputies went to the public with a petition for a pay increase and received more than 7,000 signatures from citizens. The petition was deemed invalid by the Bowie County Commissioners Court. However, the Court decided to grant a 5% pay increase to all county employees, not just the deputies. Bowie County Judge James Carlow also announced that the Sheriff’s Department will be receiving a new fleet of vehicles, and that with these vehicles being county owned, deputies would no longer receive the “vehicle allowance” for maintenance of the vehicles that they were required to purchase for their positions as deputies with the Bowie County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff James Prince said,
The county is purchasing a fleet of vehicles. There is over 20 deputies who are still trying to pay off the vehicles they were required to purchase, as a condition for employment with the Sheriff’s office. Several deputies have told me they are going to have to leave the Sheriff’s office, due to now not having money to pay for those vehicles.
We reached out to Commissioner Tom Whitten from Precinct 2 for his opinion and this is the reply we got,
They will be receiving specially equipped pursuit vehicles for replacements. Additionally, they will be paid for and maintained by the County with no expense to the deputies for such vehicles. Furthermore, the vehicles you are referring to belong to the deputies and there is no requirement for such vehicles to be paid off.
We don’t think he completely understood what we were asking him, in regards to these deputies are required to pay for vehicles they had to finance, just to be hired on.
We also reached out to Commissioner Sammy Stone and received no reply.
A Facebook Group supporting the deputies and Sheriff’s Department says it this way,
In retaliation to the deputies getting over 7,000 signatures on the petition for a ballot vote on a pay raise, Judge Carlow brought forth a 5% raise across the board for all county employees. He also brought up that they will now have a fleet of patrol cars. Right now the deputy pays for his/her patrol car utilizing a car allowance. These cars are in the deputies name but they didn’t have to pay taxes. With the fleet coming, the deputy is now responsible for the car/taxes/insurance/maintenance of their vehicles. The deputies are dealt a failing hand that they have to take care of now. Here’s why:
1.) these cars are not worth what the deputy owes on them due to the miles and maintenance problems.
2.) all taxes and payment are now thrown on to the deputy that has a patrol car because it’s in their name and the county is just shutting it off.
3.) to cover all costs, the county commissioners have decided that they will pay the deputies all saved up comp time/vacation time/holiday time that they have accrued through the years. This is money that is OWED to them anyways, now the commissioners are telling them to spend that money on what they are upside down on with the car. That was their money legally anyways, now they want to force the deputies to use that money to cover a car that the county required them to buy to perform their duties just to get shutoff by the county being several thousand in the hole because of the car.
Reach out to your County Commissioner here.