Virginia State Police pay raises create challenges for other departments

(WDBJ)
Published: Feb. 5, 2018 at 10:47 PM EST
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Good news for one law enforcement agency is causing problems for others. Virginia State Police just raised its starting pay for troopers last year.

The increase of more than 8-thousand dollars is helping fill more than 200 open positions.

"I don't think there is anything more frustrating or aggravating as sheriff is to loose good people over money," says Steve Hutcherson, Campbell County Sheriff.

Since January 1st, Campbell County Sheriff Steve Hutcherson says he's lost five officers.

Two are transferring to State Police, which recently raised its salary for first year troopers from $36,207 to $44,290. That's 10-thousand dollars more than Campbell County, which offers a starting salary for deputies of $34,284.

"We are spending time around here instructing them to get them to that point, then to have them go somewhere else we lost that experience and the value they've gained," said Hutcherson.

While Roanoke County hasn't had officers transfer to Virginia State Police department they have seen a decrease in applications over the past few years.

"We could've hired one more, we didn't have enough qualified applicants to hire and it's been the same for the last three or four classes," said Howard Hall of the Roanoke County Police Department.

Salaries aren't the only challenge to recruitment.

Roanoke County Police Chief Howard Hall says the nature of the job can also make it difficult to attract new officers. Even with an attractive pay State Police have to be open to serving anywhere in the commonwealth.

"Less applicants and more people hiring, that means applicants can be more selective."

Hutcherson says he's working with county supervisors to try and address pay for deputies, but right now he's focused on filling positions and keeping people safe.

"We're hiring right now. If you are trying to get into law enforcement, we'd love to have your application right now," said Hutcherson.

Regardless of the salary both men say this job is about protecting and serving the community and they are looking for candidates with that same mindset.