Supervisors heard over an hour of often emotional testimony from deputies and their supporters, who were upset with the lack of competitive wages and by the dangerous working conditions they created. Law enforcement wife and third-generation officer Laura Escovedo told the Board Tuesday that most people in the profession consider it a “calling,” and hoped they’d never know the “pain that comes with being handed a folded flag” or having a life-long disability because of the job as she has. County Administrator Ryan Alsop said staff was “keenly aware” of the recruitment and retention problems at the Sheriff’s Office, as it struggles with $17.8-million deficit. The Kern Law Enforcement Association rejected a recent contract offer, saying the small salary increase would be offset by overtime changes and the loss of an incentive program, Alsop says all county documents will be posted online from this point forward to avoid the misconceptions that derailed that contract. The sides meet again Monday.

Suzanne Grant