Oakland County may soon implement a new program that encourages full-time sheriff’s office employees to complete their university studies.
Last week, County Commissioner William Miller submitted a resolution during the last board meeting that, if approved, the Oakland County Law Enforcement Educational Performance Incentive Program would provide annual compensation incentives ranging from $ 800 to $ 2,500 based on the degree level earned.
Eligible officials would include penitentiary delegates, highway patrol delegates, sergeants, specialists in sergeant detectives, lieutenants and captains. All are employees represented by the union.
An associate’s degree will guarantee an incentive of $ 800, a bachelor’s degree will guarantee an incentive of $ 1,500, a master’s degree will guarantee an incentive of $ 2,000 and a doctorate or J.D. will guarantee an incentive of $ 2,500.
Deputy Sheriff Mike McCabe said it could cost the sheriff’s office about $ 420,000 a year, based on the number of eligible employees with a college degree.
He and Sheriff Michael Bouchard received a copy of the resolution and do not disagree with the resolution’s premise, but have doubts about where the funding would come from. McCabe added that he is open to discussing the resolution with Miller.
“The board can do whatever it wants, obviously,” McCabe said. “What we prefer is that if this is going to affect the sheriff’s office operations and our budget, we would like to have some discussion about it. Besides, I’m an old union member … normally that would be something that’s the subject of collective bargaining. We would just like a little better communication about this. “
The resolution also cited several studies that encourage the implementation of programs to encourage police education and provide evidence of the benefits of implementing such programs, which includes a 2017 research study, the “Policing Around the Nation: Education, Philosophy and Practice, “and a 2010 research study, “The effect of higher education on police behavior”, a 2010 survey. “
Oakland County Educational Merit Compensation Incentive Resolution, filed February 16, 2021, in Oakland County Bo…
One study found that officers with higher education have fewer complaints and disciplinary actions against them, use force less often and, when using force, use lower levels of force than officers without a college degree. Another found that officers with higher education demonstrate higher levels of creativity and problem-solving skills.
The resolution also states that the incentive program “has the potential to improve the quality of law enforcement services and assist in the recruitment and retention of high quality individuals in these critical positions”.
At this point, McCabe said the sheriff’s office had no problem recruiting road patrol delegates, but had a harder time recruiting corrections and dispatching delegates. All road patrol delegate positions are filled, having filled 14 positions just a few weeks ago. Several officials have also recently been appointed, which has made some corrective positions vacant.
Next week, the resolution will go through the committee’s process before possibly returning to the board for approval at its next meeting, scheduled for March 11.
The sheriff’s general fund budget for fiscal year 2021 totals $ 168.3 million, which is the largest departmental general fund budget in the county. Its biggest source of revenue is service charges, which reach US $ 20.4 million. This includes providing contracted law enforcement services to more than a dozen county communities ($ 17 million).
Total county fund budget for fiscal year 2021 totals $ 409.9 million.