KSP will seek $15M for 5 percent raises in upcoming budget session
09/24/2015 08:27 PM
FRANKFORT — The Kentucky State Police Professional Association will seek a 5 percent raise for all KSP staff in the upcoming budget-writing session, the group’s president said Thursday.
Tim Hazlette, head of the KSP Professional Association, told lawmakers on the Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations and Revenue that a compensation review comparing troopers’ pay in Kentucky versus their counterparts in the seven surrounding states found KSP’s pay lower than the border states when averaged. His group’s proposal to lift wages 5 percent at KSP is estimated to cost $15.1 million, he said.
The survey looked at pay pre-training, post-training and in five-year increments thereafter. The difference between salaries at KSP and the seven other states’ average grew in each category as time progressed, starting a $1,003 difference pre-training to $26,729 at 30 years. Hazlette, a retired KSP colonel, added that KSP’s starting salary ranks 24th in the state when compared to other Kentucky agencies.
Pay has been detrimental to recruitment and retention of troopers, he said, noting the last substantial pay raise can via executive order in 2006 allowing a $3,100 training stipend from the Kentucky Law Enforcement Foundation Program Fund.
“We have a recruit class that’s in session that will graduate near the end of October, and during the application process those applications were received over approximately five months,” Hazlette said, adding that 80 to 85 trainees were selected from a field of less than 700.
Those who cleared the first hurdle nearly match those who joined Hazlette in his class of recruits 36 years ago, but a far greater number applied for the KSP training academy back then, he said.
“During that process in 1979, I competed with nearly 5,000 other people for 76 positions,” Hazlette said.
Some lawmakers on the budget committee voiced their support for Hazlette’s proposal, with Sen. Robin Webb calling KSP wages “woefully inadequate” compared to surrounding states.
“I think it’s worthy to note that we’ve also upped the educational requirements for these troops over the years and they now require college educations,” said Webb, D-Grayson, “and I think you go to college, you collect debt sometime, and that’s an additional burden and I think that affects our applicants because the compensation is just not there.”
Sen. Stan Humphries, R-Cadiz, said he believed the General Assembly should “look very, very hard” at lifting wages for KSP staff in the upcoming session.
“To this committee I think we need to take a hard look at what has been presented here today and just the idea, the notion of seeing our young troopers go into harm’s way, and really, what is the reason to keep them there?” Humphries said. “Why would they keep doing this job?”
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