A measure aimed at bringing state trooper salaries up to the level of those in other states easily passed off the House floor on Tuesday, a news release says.
Senate Bill 232 won passage by a 94-0 vote. It deletes language from the statute of the Department of Public Safety related to current salary schedules. The bill states that a new table will be created in accordance of the Oklahoma Total Remuneration Study of 2013. The study found that Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper salaries were significantly less than the average salary of troopers in other states.
The House author of the bill, state Rep. Scott Martin, said raising trooper pay is important to keeping the OHP trooper force at full strength.
"The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is an integral part of our state's security," said Martin, R-Norman. "For too long now, we've underpaid our troopers while expecting them to perform at high levels. And while they've never disappointed us in that regard, the time has come to reward our hard-working troopers and get their salaries in line with those of troopers in other states and other law enforcement agencies in our state."
According to DPS, the proposed cost increase would be $4,829,274 annually and the total annual fiscal impact would be $5,598,692, the state says.
"Getting our state trooper pay up to a proper level is vital," Rep. Mike Ritze, chairman of the Public Safety Appropriations and Budget Committee, said. "Our state troopers work countless hours protecting us on our roads and in our communities. We must ensure they are compensated well so we can continue to have the best and brightest aspire to become members of the OHP."