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OLATHE, Kan. — The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office has experienced a significant increase in job applications since the county increased starting pay for deputies. 

In September, the county approved a plan to increase deputy pay by roughly 14%. Tom Dugan, director of finance for the Sheriff’s Office, gave the Board of County Commissioners an update on recruitment efforts Thursday morning. 

Dugan said it takes several months to complete the hiring process for a deputy, so it will take more time for the county to see the full benefit of the base pay increase. However, early indicators suggest that the changes to the overall pay table have sparked an increased interest in the department. 

“Early indicators are that we are getting many, many, many more applicants. In terms of employment investigations those have increased about 377%. There are a lot more candidates in the system. We just need a few more months before we can really see the benefit of the increased pay,” Dugan said.  

Dugan said compared to two months ago, the department is not only seeing additional applicants, but more applicants with law enforcement experience. 

According to county documents, the number of applicants with law enforcement experience increased from one in August to 26 applicants in November.

Currently the department has 54 deputy vacancies, down slightly from the 61 deputy vacancies reported in September.

To bolster recruitment efforts, the department has temporarily increased starting deputy pay to $28.50 an hour until the department vacancies drop below 14 deputy positions.