TUCSON, Ariz. — A sudden change of course.
The sheriff's department is now asking for higher wages and sent a letter on May 11th to the Board of Supervisors asking them "to look at what TPD currently has with the City of Tucson adopted for their budget and make that similar or equivalent package as well," said Eric Cervantez, Pima County Deputy Sheriff Assoc. President.
Why the request now? Sheriff Chris Nanos said they were not expecting the city of Tucson to raise the pay as much as it did.
"Once the city found they were 81 percent of the staff was basically not being funded properly, they took action. They did the right thing in my eyes." said Nanos.
And now the sheriff and the union are worried without a substantial boost in pay they can't compete.
They've already been losing deputies to other neighboring law enforcement.
Now add TPD to the list and the department is aggressively recruiting.
"Recently it was an equal pay in regards to new hires, Sgts, and detectives similar to TPD. With this large jump now, we won't even be close," said Cervantez.
So what does that mean to the public?
Less deputies, they said, could mean slower response times.
The sheriff's department is already short staffed.
Nanos provides an insight into the number of deputies on patrol -- those who respond to calls.
"Our authorized strength is 230. Today we're at 193. If we get to 180, that's pretty critical," said Nanos.
The sheriff said the budget deadline is June 22nd.