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Published on Friday, January 29, 2016

Requiring local police departments to reimburse training costs when hiring newly-trained state troopers

Due to concerns about turnover in the Washington State Patrol (WSP), the Legislature requested an analysis of WSP recruitment and retention practices. The draft final report was released in December, 2015. Among the report’s findings were that since the end of the recession, WSP has seen increased turnover among its troopers with less than 10 years of service, and part of the reason for this is that local law enforcement agencies offer higher salaries and geographical certainty.

The Legislature is now considering a number of proposals to increase compensation and satisfaction among its state troopers. One of these proposals, SB 6331, would increase the minimum monthly salary and benefits paid to state troopers and provide a mechanism to keep compensation competitive with other large law enforcement agencies. In addition, the bill requires any Washington law enforcement agency that employs a current or former state trooper within 36 months of that officer’s initial appointment to the state patrol to pay the state for the cost of training the officer. To ensure payment, the bill directs the state to withhold the appropriate amount from the city or county criminal justice assistance account distributions. The bill will be heard Monday, February 1 at 3:30 pm in the Senate Transportation Committee.