LIBERTY COUNTY, Texas -- The Liberty County Sheriff's Office says nearly a quarter of its deputies have either applied for or are on food stamps.

According to Capt. Ken DeFoor, at least nine of the department's 37 deputies have applied for government assistance because they can't make ends meet on the agency's $35,800 a year salary.

To ask someone to put their life on the line for such low salaries is almost a travesty, said DeFoor.

Nearby sheriff's offices pay significantly more than Liberty. In Chambers county, entry level deputies earn more than $40,460 a year, and officers at both Montgomery and Harris counties start at $42,000 a year.

The sheriff's office is pressuring Liberty County commissioners to increase the pay for its officers and add incentives to encourage current employees to stay.

It's extremely embarrassing, said one 10-year-law enforcement veteran who wished to remain anonymous.

He recently had to go on food stamps to support his family.

This is not how I want to live my life, using food stamps to make ends meet, said the veteran. It's not how I want to raise my kids.

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