November 23, 2006
The men and women in the Richmond County Sheriff's Office take on special shifts to make ends meet, from security specials at Wal-Mart to checking IDs at sports bars.
This is an extra source of income that makes a world of difference.
It's a way of life for Cpl. Gary Jones, month after month after month.
"You could probably make anywhere from ten to fifteen thousand dollars a year on the side doing specials," he said.
He takes on extra shifts to help pay extra on his house and his vehicles and also to pay for family vacations.
News 12 spent the day with him as he left for the first of his two specials.
"85 on a special at Pull-A-Part Auto Parts, 327 Sand Bar Ferry."
For the next two hours, the corporal stood guard and patrolled the premises.
He may look the part of an on-duty officer, but his time here is not on the taxpayer's dime.
Instead, he's hired by management, and works this shift multiple times a month.
Today would otherwise be his day off.
Cpl. Jones is not alone. Last year, the sheriff's office assigned over 700 specials to be worked at night clubs, sports bars and businesses.
"It's not a good thing to rely on special money, but they do make ends meet," said Lt. LaVerte Tutt.
Lt. Tutt keeps the records on specials. It's a full-time job.
He says specials are easy money: a guarantee of four hours pay at $10 to $15 an hour.
That's why Danny Key can't turn them down.
"I work them now because of the insurance," he told News 12. "The way our insurance has gone up twice and our co-pays. I'm actually working these hours to make up the difference."
Before his day off was over, Cpl. Jones squeezed in one more shift patrolling Center West Villas.
Today, he worked only two specials. Some days he works three or four.
"It does take you away from home, away from the family environment, things of that nature, so you have to have someone that's understanding to that, understanding that you have a common goal and that's what you're working for to try to accomplish that," Cpl. Jones said.
That goal, extra income, can slowly add up, month after month after month.
In Richmond County, a deputy jailer starts at $25,000 a year.
A P.O.S.T certified officer starts at $28,000 a year. After two years, they can get up to a $2000 raise.
To make sure those who work specials are not overworked, the sheriff's office enforces a rule. Deputies have to have at least 8 hours of down time before reporting to a 12-hour shift.
Richmond County Salaries
P.O.S.T Certified Officer:
1st year - $27,966
2nd year - $29,364
3rd year - $30,832