State police hope pay raises help attract recruits

PLAINFIELD, Ind – After losing nearly 100 troopers in the last six years, a bonus is headed to the Indiana State Police that it hopes will attract candidates.

Right now, 37 recruits are training at the law enforcement academy in Plainfield. For 24 weeks, trainers will teach recruits how to handle situations. But for the group, there’s a bonus lesson.

“We were able to tell this current recruit class here is what a projected to for you over your career compared to what it was,” ISP Sgt. Michael Wood said. “They were very excited that evening.”

When they graduate, they’ll make more money than they expected. Over the next two years, troopers will receive a 24 percent raise.

An incentive ISP needs because its lost 89 troopers over the past six years, mainly because of poor pay. “It takes a toll on the citizens, and when they need our assistance, or they need a service or report, it makes it tough for us to schedule and to be able to provide to them that service,” Wood said.

Indiana troopers out of the academy make $39,213. In Michigan, and Ohio, it’s around $44,000, and in Illinois, a new state trooper makes $60,036.

“I’ve worked numerous career fairs at colleges, and I would be next, sitting next to a table of another department that $10,000 to $12,000 dollars more a year,” Wood said.

For a first year ISP trooper, the salary will go from $41,000 to $52,000 a year. “We expect to see an increase in applicants over the next few years,” Wood said.

ISP is exploring ways to market the raise for the next class. But they said, the serious faces at the academy don’t show how much these raises mean.

“The morale is going to be up, and they’re going to be out there and be happy to work and serve be there for the people,” Wood said. The current recruits will graduate in October. ISP’s next academy, which could start next May, will be the first crop of candidates to know about the raise before choosing its department.