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Arizona State Troopers Association president: Pay raises will up staffing

(Facebook Photo/Arizona Department of Public Safety)

PHOENIX — The president of the Arizona State Troopers Association believes pay raises will help curb what he calls a “crisis level” of staffing for the profession in the state.

Jeff Hawkins told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Thursday that Arizona Department of Public Safety troopers’ salaries can’t compete with others across the country.

Hawkins said DPS has lost 300 troopers in the past three years, including about 100 in the past year.

Some have retired but Hawkins believes others have left due to the lack of competitive pay.

“They’re just waiting to leave to go to some other place because our salaries are not competitive enough to serve all these areas,” Hawkins said.

About 90 trooper vacancies remain in Phoenix, but the issue isn’t one solely in large metro areas in Arizona.

Hawkins said troopers can’t afford to live in parts of the state where they’re stationed.

Rural areas also typically suffer the most with less staffing, creating longer wait times and more stress for available troopers, according to Hawkins.

Some areas don’t have troopers on the road after 1 a.m. because of low staffing, Hawkins said.

“Troopers are finding themselves having to drive faster and harder to get to things that are so much further away as opposed to close by,” Hawkins said.

Hawkins has spoken with members of the Arizona Legislature to lobby for higher wages.

“We’re just hoping this year they answer the call to help out our troopers and also our professional staff,” Hawkins said.

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