The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is fighting for their state troopers.
The Florida Highway Patrol, which is a branch of the DHSMV, has approximately 200 vacancies. What’s more, vver the years, DHSMV says retention of FHP troopers has been a problem.
On Wednesday, DHSMV’s chief financial officer, Susan Carey, told Florida Cabinet aides about the issues with recruitment and retention.
Now DHSMV and FHP are in support of a proposal to increase the salary of troopers, at more than 10 percent as starting pay.
“With the Legislature, Cabinet and governor’s support we were fortunate to have a salary increase for our law enforcement officers in the current fiscal year. We would like to go further with the new fiscal year,” said Carey.
Statewide on July 1, law enforcement officers saw a 5 percent pay raise. But a new proposal provides an additional increase for the next fiscal year taking the annual starting salary from about $38,000 to $42,000.
Also, the proposed plan explains a trooper could earn $60,000, based on an “experienced-based incremental pay plan” but only after 20 years.
FHP has a budget for 1,974 full time troopers but lost more than 200 troopers last year.
In the proposed budget, DHSMV wrote: “The FHP continues to have difficulty hiring and retaining qualified candidates due to the inability to pay a comparable rate with local and federal law-enforcement agencies. Consequently, all trained and experienced staff will look for competitive salaries elsewhere. Funds invested in training, uniforms, physicals, and other costs associated with these positions is lost.”
The money being requested by DHSMV and FHP includes:
— FHP dispatch relocation in Orlando: $1.32 million.
— FHP Academy dorm renovation: $3.4 million.
— FHP active shooter training building: $2.9 million.
— DUI centralized database: $1.75 million.
— Hand-held narcotic analyzers: $885,272.
— FHP safety equipment, electric flares: $450,000.