Contract negotiations between OCSO, deputies' union at a standstill



ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - Contract negotiations have come to an impasse between the Orange County Sheriff's Office and the union representing the deputies.

Channel 9 has learned that after four months, the union is asking a panel of special magistrates to come in and help broker a deal.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 93 just sent a letter to Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings.

"The message is, 'Why work for Orange County when I can get hired by another agency that's going to pay more and has equal or better benefits?'" said Jay Smith with the Fraternal Order of Police.

The union said there's a list of topics on which they're not seeing eye-to-eye, including issues regarding internal investigations, layoffs, leave time and pay.

"Our deputies are currently underpaid. We're ranked ninth in the central Florida area and we feel like our deputies need to have the pay increases so they can afford to continue to work and live in the Orange County area," said Smith.

The union is essentially asking for a six percent pay raise each year. Smith said the Sheriff's Office is losing about 40 to 50 deputies a year due to attrition. The union believes a handful of those deputies are joining other agencies that pay thousands more per year.

Eyewitness News contacted Sheriff's Office officials for their response but hasn't heard back.