Friday, March 11, 2022

Highway Patrol pay raise passes State House

Ford's Highway Patrol Pay Increase Passes House

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers are a step closer to receiving a 35% pay raise after the House on Wednesday unanimously passed House Bill 4386  by Rep. Ross Ford, R-Broken Arrow.

An emergency clause on the bill ensures the raise would be given to each commissioned OHP officer effective July 1.

"Our Highway Patrol troopers have gone seven years without a pay raise," Ford said. "This is while they daily take their lives in their hands to provide safety and protection and a multitude of other services to Oklahomans throughout our state."

Ford explained Highway Patrol pay lags behind that of many other law enforcement agencies in the state. This pay raise should take them close to what police officers in the cities of Edmond and Oklahoma City earn.

Ford said trooper retention is the biggest issue facing the Highway Patrol. A shortage has been looming for more than a decade as seasoned troopers retire and the number of new recruits lags.

The current political and social climate – in which many protest groups have called for a defunding of police departments and declared war on law enforcement in general – has exacerbated the problem. The challenge isn't just here in Oklahoma but nationwide. Public Safety leaders have said a number of well-qualified and upstanding officers and troopers around the country have decided to leave the profession. Hundreds more are eligible to retire and get their maximum benefit out of the state pension system.

That stretches resources as OHP seeks to serve all of Oklahoma's 77 counties. Last fall, Oklahoma's Public Safety commissioner reported that OHP was about 300 troopers short of being able to complete its mission.

HB4386 passed the House with a vote of 88-0. It now moves to the state Senate where it is authored by Sen. Darrell Weaver, R-Moore.

Ross Ford, a Republican, serves District 76 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. His district includes part of Tulsa County.


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