Troopers association asking Arizona State Legislature for big pay increase

The Arizona State Troopers Association is asking the Arizona State Legislature for a 12% pay increase for troopers.

Officials with the association say they have been experiencing a shortage for a while. They say they have been losing about 100 troopers per year, over the past three years.

Association president Jeff Hawkins believes the loss of troopers is a direct result of the pay discrepancy for troopers, compared to other law enforcement agencies.

"We release a pay study every year that the Legislature requires, and we were at 15% for them, and then 23% behind market for our professional staff," said Hawkins.

According to DPS, there are a total of 280 vacancies across the state. In Phoenix alone, there are 90 vacancies. Hawkins says that leaves some areas with no DPS coverage at times, and he says the problem has recently gotten worse, as housing prices have skyrocketed, and the trooper income is not cutting it.

"If I send someone to Wickanberg or Flagstaff or Sedona, the cost of living is really expensive and it makes it difficult to retain them," said Hawkins.

Hawkins says the letter they sent to the Legislature on the pay increase has been signed by 19 lawmakers. He says the budget will ultimately depend on Gov. Doug Ducey.

"We’re hoping that we are able to get the 12% that we asked for, and to put up a great plan together and get some new folks in the door," said Hawkins.

Part of Gov. Ducey’s proposed budget for the next fiscal year includes $7 million for trooper recruitment and retention. We have reached out to the Governor’s Office for comment, but officials have yet to respond.

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