Del. probation and parole officer union: More pay needed to retain and recruit officers

DELAWARE – Several law enforcement agencies have been working extremely hard with little pay.

We’ve seen it with the correctional officers inside maximum security prisons but now we’re seeing it with those who work outside those walls. ​​​​​​​

With over 280 officers statewide, probation and parole officers play a pivotal role in helping offenders re-enter society. But now, they want more for the work they do.

PO’s work with offenders just like correctional officers do and once they get out, they have a lot of work on their hands. It can be a tough and scary job. Fraternal Order of Police President Todd Mumford says, “Anything from walking into an operating meth lab with walking in to people having weapons. In the last few weeks, we’ve had four separate incidents where an officer has been injured in confrontations with the offender population.”

Because of that intense workload, these officers are the only law enforcement agents that need a bachelor’s degree. But they get the least pay at $40,000. Over 60% of the officers supplement their income with second jobs, which means they are likely to get burnt out.

“In truth we could probably use 20-25% more officers to more effectively balance the workload but the way it works right now, we absorb it among the staff that’s there,” Mumford tells 47 ABC.

So add the pressures of the job, plus a degree and low pay, makes for a hard recruiting tool.

Representative Steve Smyk says funding is absolutely needed for jobs just like these.

Department of Correction Bureau Chief of Community Corrections, Jim Elder, says they support the union in their search for more money. “We’ve been working with the FOP to strategize ways to help them get better salaries.”

It’s the union’s job to figure out a new price point with the Governor’s Office to entice people to become probation and parole officers. Besides raising funds, they also hope to create out a good retirement plan.

Mumford says an ideal price point to recruit and retain PO’s would be somewhere in the mid-50’s.

By mid-month, the union hopes to have a meeting with the state on salary adjustments. They can work out a deal until their due date of May 1, 2019.

Categories: Delaware, Local News