Virginia State Police: $55 million needed to correct pay issues

Virginia State Police: $55 million needed to correct pay issues

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Virginia State Police (VSP) lost about 30 troopers in the past two months. Their paycheck is the major factor driving them away to other states.

“Simply because they have to look out for their families,” said Wayne Huggins, Virginia State Police Association Executive Director.

Huggins says troopers are leaving because senior supervisors are making less than brand new subordinates. VSP have hundreds of vacancies that need to be filled. Soon, a graduating class will increase the ranks by about 38. But the worry is those newly trained troopers will find a better opportunity. Huggins is worried the commonwealth is becoming a police training academy for someone else.

“To me it’s penny wise and pound foolish. Pay the people you’ve got. You’ve invested in them,” said Huggins

A 12-month study showed 80 troopers resigned between August 2018 and July 2019. Those resignations cost the state $16.2 million.

“I hate to see $16.2 million worth or recruiting and training walk out the door knowing now we have to spend that over again,” said Huggins.

Senate Bill 972 would create a public safety trust fund that would be funded with an additional $4 fee on your vehicle registration. That would cover the estimated $55 million needed to deal with pay compression. The house version of the bill would take money out of the general fund. But that would only cover about the half of the full amount state police needs.

“Solve this problem and the flood gates will close,” said Huggins.

The bills are in committees at this point in the general assembly. As the session gets ready to wrap, we will have to get an answer one way or another by Thursday when the compromised budget is unveiled.

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