Corrections officers say now they can keep your family safer. The Pay the Badge initiative made it possible to pay state troopers more. Thursday, the Kentucky Department of Corrections announced corrections officers will be paid more too.
County and Corrections leaders say a little more money will help keep criminals behind bars.
Corrections officer Elizabeth Sparks loves her job for the very same reason it's so dangerous. “The excitement of something being different every day is what keeps me coming back," she says.
That's why Sparks says there's something she always brings with her when she walks through the gates: a game face. But now, there’s a different face the officers are wearing. “Smiles everywhere, everyone appreciates this. It’s a well-deserved raises," she says.
Warden Steve Woodward says he knows those smiles will help him keep quality officers like Sparks, which will keep his facility safe and secure. Woodward says: “It really makes a big difference when we're able to keep staff and not have a new person in.”
Woodward says corrections officers tend to be forgotten. “Heroes pass through these gates three times a day at shift change," he says.
Like all members of law enforcement, Sparks says they want to get home safely at the end of the day. “Once you walk through those gates it’s its own little city," she says. But in a dangerous little city where quality officers mean everything, Sparks says it’s easier to keep everyone inside and out of that city safer.
Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White started the Pay the Badge initiative last November. He says he's proud of the impact it's carried throughout the state. White says, with two corrections facilities in the area, the extra money in officers' pockets is going to make a difference.
“It also makes things safer, because we're able to recruit now," White says. "We're able to keep people we need to keep. We're able to keep people in corrections we were losing to McDonald's and other places.”
Pay increases for corrections officers will go into effect Tuesday. The money will show up on September checks.
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