Bernalillo County Sheriff's deputies will get another pay raise

May 15—Already some of the highest-paid law enforcement officers in the state, Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office deputies will get a 10% base pay increase after county commissioners unanimously approved a new union bargaining agreement Tuesday.

"This wage increase puts Bernalillo County in a position to be competitive with other law enforcement entities and is critical to ensure retention of our sworn personnel," county Human Resources Director Bernadette Perez said.

BCSO deputies received a 17% pay raise last year, setting first class deputy pay at $35.72 hourly. On July 1, BCSO first-class deputies will start earning $39.29 hourly. Like other law enforcement agencies, the Sheriff's Office also offers pay incentives, including longevity pay, which can be significant.

Albuquerque Police Department officers got a 5% pay raise last year and should get at least a 4% pay raise in the upcoming fiscal year.

"We're seeing more people retire, more people leaving the profession and we're seeing less people coming in. ... Public safety is a priority for every government. However, we're having a hard time staffing," said Sgt. Samuel Rodriguez, president of the Bernalillo County Deputy Sheriffs Association.

"I think you know from last year's budget and this year's that this commission supports our Sheriff's Office," Commission Chair Barbara Baca said.

The bargaining agreement also adds new substances to the urine drug-testing requirements, including ecstasy/MDMA, fentanyl and alcohol.

The drug-testing requirements already included other commonly used substances such as amphetamines, barbiturates, cannabinoids, cocaine and opioids, and specified that alcohol would be tested with a breath analysis — language that is still in the bargaining agreement.

This year, three Bernalillo County Sheriff's Office deputies have been charged in drinking-related incidents while off duty.