Lawmakers proposing pay raise for state troopers after wide-scale departures

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INDIANAPOLIS – A move to give Indiana State Police troopers a raise brought the agency’s superintendent to the Statehouse Tuesday, both to thank lawmakers for their proposal and underscore the urgency of the problem.

“We’re going to give a well-deserved raise to the Indiana State Police,” Gov. Eric Holcomb said last week in his first State of the State address, a move that received a bipartisan standing ovation.

Applauding too was Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter.

“That’s the first time in our history that’s happened,” Carter said in an interview with CBS4. “And I thanked Governor Holcomb multiple times for what he did there, the spark he gave not only to troopers around the state but public safety in general.”

The problem CBS4 revealed in a prior investigation is that dozens of troopers are leaving the force for higher-paying positions in neighboring departments.

Carter said Tuesday 89 troopers have left since 2011, a “vast majority” because of low pay, adding that’s nearing 20 percent of the entire trooper workforce.

A 2016 study by Mercer found starting pay for an IMPD patrol officer is nearly $25,000 more annually than a trooper’s base pay of $40,902.

mercer-study

“I pay attention to every single one of them that leave, and I talk to every single one of them that will talk to me when they leave,” he said. “And I hope we can fix that.”

Even more so, Carter said, the agency is having difficulty keeping pace with replacing troopers who leave, which costs the department more than $100,000 for each trooper.

“We’re losing a lot of veterans and younger officers,” House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) said in a recent interview.

Carter is working with state budget officials on the specific details, like how much of an increase in pay and benefits is needed to keep state police competitive.

“It’s a huge reality,” Carter said. “It’s a huge reality and so many folks who have left would come back I believe because I’ve talked to them.”

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