Governor Lee Announces Salary Increase for TN Correctional Officers

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Governor Bill Lee recently announced a competitive 37% salary increase for new Tennessee Department of Correction (TDOC) correctional officers amid nationwide staffing challenges, effective Dec. 16.

“As we face staffing shortages across the country, rewarding officers with competitive pay will ensure we recruit and retain the most highly qualified individuals in our workforce,” said Gov. Lee. “These Tennesseans play a crucial role in ensuring public safety and we remain committed to valuing their important work.”

The 37% salary increase for new TDOC correctional officers will raise annual starting pay to $44,500. Current security staff will receive a minimum 15% pay increase.

Additionally, TDOC provides a competitive benefits package including insurance coverage and retirement benefits, paid holidays and vacation, tuition reimbursement and college degree programs, equipment and uniforms provided, and overtime/compensatory time pay.

TDOC will continue to offer a $5,000 hiring bonus and part-time opportunities for current or retired law enforcement to meet staffing needs.

“The men and women who work in facilities across Tennessee are dedicated public servants,” said TDOC Interim Commissioner Lisa Helton. “This salary increase makes our agency more competitive in attracting new talent and is a well-deserved raise for those currently serving our state.”

In recent months, the governor has focused on recruiting new law enforcement officers in multiple agencies. In addition to the announced pay increases, Lee made a nationwide pitch to law enforcement officers considering moving states.

In a promotional video, the governor touted the benefits of relocating to Tennessee to join the state’s law enforcement agency, including a pledge to provide financial assistance to cover the costs associated with the move. He also explained that the Tennessee Highway Patrol offers multiple job-specific perks as well.

“There are many highly skilled law enforcement personnel who want to work in a state that doesn’t get in the middle of personal health decisions yet also provides for a wonderful quality of life,” said Lee, referring to vaccine mandates that have spread throughout many states.

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