Troopers want Legislature to Approve Pay Increase

Troopers want Legislature to Approve Pay Increase

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Saying they are paid less than officers in some city departments, members of the Utah Highway Patrol Association asked lawmakers for a raise.

Troopers requested a 20 percent pay increase Wednesday, saying that's what it would take to bring the department up to par with other law enforcement agencies in Utah.

Trooper Todd Royce, president of the association, told the legislative appropriations subcommittee he has been offered up to $3 more an hour by other law enforcement agencies to work for them. But, because of his love of being a second-generation trooper, he stays with UHP.

"For my family's sake, I'm asking for this raise," he said. "I'm living paycheck to paycheck as a nine-year trooper."

The 20 percent pay increase for the state's troopers is a request for $2.5 million in a budget where fiscal analysts are proposing no increase.

The Department of Public Safety received nearly $108 million in this fiscal year's budget and about half of that goes to public safety services.

The average hourly pay for a trooper is $16.39, while Salt Lake City officers average $23.20, according to the association.

"The troopers have not had raises for so long that their salaries are over 20 percent behind other agencies," said former Sen. Richard Carling, chairman of the honorary colonels. "In the past, the Highway Patrol has always been the premier law enforcement agency."

Now, Carling contends that UHP is basically a training ground, spending the time and energy to train new recruits who then have to go to other agencies to be able to support their families.

Troopers lobbied for a 15 percent to 20 percent increase in 2001, before the budgetary drought hit the state, but they lost the battle in the last days of the session.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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