State and federal data show, Santa Rosa County law enforcement are understaffed and underpaid.
Compared with neighboring Escambia and Okaloosa counties, there are fewer deputy sheriffs in the field getting paid less, but Santa Rosa is not exactly like its neighbors.
Escambia and Okaloosa both have significantly higher populations, and those populations have different make ups than Santa Rosa. To get a more accurate comparison, Chief Deputy Bob Johnson recommends looking at Charlotte County, Fla.
Census data show the composition and size of Charlotte are highly similar to Santa Rosa. Charlotte and Santa Rosa are both located along the Gulf shore. Populations in both counties have been steadily rising since 2011 to around 165,000 residents.
The data also reflect Charlotte pays its officers significantly more.
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