CLOVIS, N.M. (KRQE) – You have seen COVID-19 cases spiking at jails and prisons across the state and one southeast New Mexico county realizes employees at its detention center deserve hazard pay. “Now we are down to a staff of 23 detention officers short out of a staff of 70,” said Curry County Commissioner Chet Spear.
The Curry County Commission voted to give every full-time county jail employee an extra $100 per paycheck until the end of the year. “Then COVID came up, COVID-19 came up and it’s been really difficult for the detention officers. The ongoing testing every day, the having to wear all of this protective equipment and it’s created a lot of stress” said Spear.
Spear has been pushing to give the guards hazard pay, not just because of COVID-19 but as a bonus to help keep employees. “But our detention officers, they want this job. We send them through the training, we get them all on board; get them in there and three or four months later they go, you know, this is just not for me,” said Spear.
Spear said they have been wanting to do something like this for some time, and they were just trying to find the money in these hard economic times. “And show them that we appreciate them, that we are proud of them. We respect the job they do for the county and this is just a small way of showing that appreciation, by giving them more bucks,” said Spear.
Commissioners also hope this might attract some people to apply for their nearly two dozen openings. The commission will decide in December whether to extend the stipends into next year.
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