State FOP pushing to get troopers higher wages - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

State FOP pushing to get troopers higher wages

GEORGIA (WTOC) -

They risk their lives everyday they suit up and hit the roads to protect you and your family, but did you know Georgia State Troopers are the lowest paid in the nation?

Now the State Fraternal Order of Police is lobbying lawmakers in hopes of changing that.

They say it’s not all about the money, they took an oath to serve and protect. It’s about keeping the best possible troopers on the roadways to keep us safe.

"The most important function of government is providing public safety,” said State President for the FOP, Carlton Stallings.

The Fraternal Order of Police is pushing to get Georgia State Troopers higher wages after they say they're the lowest paid in the nation. 

"These other states have recognized the benefits of paying their troopers a good salary, so they're retaining their officers," Stallings said. 

Stallings is also a retired trooper who worked the Savannah roadways in the 70s. 

"Nothing else works if you don't have public safety. You've got to have people out there to make our communities and roadways safe. And you know, slowly but surely they've slipped, slipped, slipped, you know, and these other states have recognized the benefits of paying their troopers a good salary,” said Stallings.

Starting salaries for State Troopers in Georgia are at the bottom, at almost $36,000.

View the full figures below provided by the GSP Fraternal Order of Police:

Alabama is a close second. California is at the top, at more than $74,000 starting out. 

"The numbers would back up that the less troopers we have on the road, we've seen an increase in the number of traffic fatalities," Rhett Parker said. 

Parker, an active state trooper, compares the number of roadway fatalities to the lack of troopers patrolling the roads. 

He says last year Georgia saw 815 fatalities. The first statewide increase since 2007. Parker says they haven’t seen pay raises in almost a decade.

"Other departments are paying more money so we can get it in and get them trained but we can’t maintain or keep them," Parker said. 

Parker adds this is a blow to taxpayers because it cost some $122,000 to train their cadets and the turnover rate has doubled in the past three years. 

They are authorized to have 953 troopers but:

"We're down to 770 troopers and that is the lowest we've been in a decade. We’re trying to do what we can to keep the roadways safe, keep the citizens safe but we can’t with less people,” Parker said.

The FOP adds 116 troopers have left since 2015. 

The state president tells WTOC he understands the Governor and legislators have a tough job, but they will be back at the capitol on March 2nd for Law Enforcement Appreciation Day to make lawmakers aware of this situation. 

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