State lawmakers have proposed a pay raise for the state’s patrol officers.
A new bill, Senate Bill 6547, would raise salaries for employees of the State Patrol by 7.5 percent over three years and says patrol salaries have to be competitive with other local law enforcement agencies.
It also would make the State Patrol create an outreach and marketing plan to recruit new officers.
The patrol previously said they struggle to recruit troopers and that many new hires leave for other law enforcement agencies that pay better. A report commissioned by the Legislature and released in December found troopers are underpaid and unhappy with the agency’s management.
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A Patrol survey of 11 law enforcement agencies found that all but one of them pay more than the State Patrol at every level. For instance, while an entry level state trooper makes about $54,000, an entry level officer in Tacoma Police Department makes about $68,000.
For those with 25 years of experience, the State Patrol pays troopers about $77,000, compared with the $94,600 they’d make in Yakima and the $106,000 they’d earn in Seattle.
In December, the State Patrol reported that it had about 100 open field positions, and was losing about nine troopers a month.
The bill has bipartisan sponsorship, including Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville.