State law enforcement officers could receive another pay raise next year under a proposal Gov. Rick Scott plans to include in his budget proposal that will be sent to the Legislature later this year.
Scott is calling on lawmakers to include $30 million dollars in next year’s budget for highway patrol troopers, wildlife officers and law enforcement agents.
That comes on top of a five percent salary increase given to the state’s 4,000 sworn law enforcement officers by state lawmakers earlier this year.
“This $30 million in pay raises will help reward our hard-working state law enforcement officers and ensure we can continue to hire highly qualified and dedicated officers to keep Florida families safe for years to come,” Scott said in a statement. “I know that each state agency has different needs, and this proposal allows them to provide pay raises to best suit their sworn law enforcement officers.”
Highway Patrol Director Gene Spaulding says the governor’s proposal will help his agency recruit and retain troopers. FHP is currently funded for 1,974 troopers with 165 vacancies. Spaulding says the agency realistically needs 3,000 to adequately cover the state.
Spauldng says Florida is one of the lowest-staffed highway patrols in the nation.
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Rick Swearingen would help FDLE to retain its most experienced agents. He says it’s difficult to keep experienced agents on staff when they can make more money working for a local law enforcement agency.
“We are grateful for Governor Scott’s continued support of Florida’s law enforcement community and his commitment to the safety of our Florida citizens,” Swearingen said. “His proposal will help us continue to hire the best, and to better retain the talented agents we have already working for FDLE.”
The governor’s proposal would allow each state law enforcement agency to create its own plan for handing out the pay raises allowing them to meet their agency’s specific needs.