February 04, 2019 06:58 PM
During a decade of bleak budget years from 2003 to 2012, Minnesota State Troopers went five of those years with no pay raises. Those years with no raises have caused state trooper pay to fall further and further behind police officers in local departments.
"It was shocking," said Minnesota Sen. Jeff Howe (R-Rockville). "It was truly shocking to see the disparity between what the troopers are getting paid and other law enforcement agencies out there."
Howe authored a bill that calls for a study of the seven highest paid police departments in the state. The bill would then call for troopers to be paid at least 95 percent of what the average of the salaries paid at those departments.
"From about 2003 to 2012 in about a ten-year span we had five contractual years of zeroes," says Mike LeDoux, vice president of the Minnesota State Troopers Association. "So zero percent pay increases."
More from KSTP:
Those years of zeroes meant that when pay did start to go up, the raises were based on smaller salaries. The result? State troopers went from parity with most local law enforcement to now lagging far behind.
For instance, starting pay for state troopers is now about $55,885. That ranks 16th among local law enforcement agencies, with Plymouth at number one paying its officers $61,878 to start. After seven years of service, according to Minnesota State Troopers Association figures, the disparity is even greater. After seven years a state trooper is paid about $73,753, which ranks 26th among local law enforcement. Eden Prairie is tops at $89,931.
Here is a look at starting pay for state troopers in surrounding states.
"We want to recruit them, we want to retain them and then ultimately retire them," LeDoux said. "But if they can go somewhere else and make a substantial amount of money they're going to start considering that."
LeDoux says last year 17 state troopers left for "non-retirement" reasons, meaning they likely found higher paying jobs elsewhere.
Howe says his bill is aimed at helping the Minnesota State Patrol recruit and retain troopers.
"We're just trying to look forward and try to prevent us from losing any more troopers," he says.
A similar bill will be introduced in the Minnesota House.
Updated: February 04, 2019 06:58 PM
Created: February 04, 2019 06:09 PM
Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company