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Letters: Correction officers earnings need context

5:30 PM, Apr. 8, 2013  |  Comments

The state has released the Department of Corrections (DOC) payroll information to the media. It is important for me as a correctional officer to provide some context for perspective with these numbers.

The starting wage for an officer is $14.89 per hour. That's just under $31,000 annually. The officer will remain at that rate for a two year apprenticeship period. Then the rate is increased to $16.83 or about $35,000 annually. Officers can earn more by working overtime.

Some officers voluntarily work overtime while others are required to. Overtime pay is usually time-and-a-half but under some circumstances officers can be ordered for a double shift and not paid the additional half-time.

I am thankful to have steady, stable public employment and I am not complaining about my wages.

There is a perception though that correctional officers are getting rich feeding at the public trough. Those who earn higher wages do so because they volunteer to spend their days off inside the prison walls or are forced to do so.

For those of you who still believe I'm amassing a fortune, you're in luck, because the DOC can't seem to find enough qualified applicants to take these big money jobs.

Paul Mertz

Redgranite

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