Vacant Positions for State Troopers Equal a Higher Pay Raise - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Vacant Positions for State Troopers Equal a Higher Pay Raise

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It's a tough decision for Texas lawmakers to decide which group of state law enforcement workers should get a higher pay raise.

News Channel 25 asked Senator Tommy Williams, head of the Finance Committee, why legislators decided Troopers should get a higher pay raise than Correctional Officers. The reason? Troopers have a higher percentage of vacant positions than prison guards.

"We have more vacancies in Troopers than we do in our Correctional Officers," Williams said.

State Troopers have 1,876 positions statewide, and 450 vacant positions. That leaves 23% vacancy. Correctional Officers have 26,046 positions statewide, and 2,850 vacant positions. That leaves 10% vacancy. 

"What we found out was these officers after we train them, they were being hired away by other cities who all paid more," said Williams.

This isn't any different from a prison guard who goes elsewhere for more money.

"I would say that the entry level requirements are not nearly demanding they are, to be a state trooper," said Williams. "We appreciate them both and they are important, but they are different jobs."

Both jobs are hard, demanding and they put their lives on the line everyday.

"I would say that there's not a tougher job anywhere than being a Trooper," Williams said.

Lance Lowry is a Correctional Officer and President of AFSCME Union at Huntsville Unit, and he sees prison guards dealing with a lot.

"It's a toll," Lowry said." I think the largest killer is stress. The average Correctional Officer that lives the longest age is 58-years-old."

Lowry claims Correctional Officers have some of the highest post traumatic stress out of any occupation.

The announcement of a 5% pay raise for Correctional Officers came as a shock to them. While a 20% raise went to Troopers.

"It's pretty much brought the morale down," Lowery said. "This isn't anything what employees were expecting in light of the fact we are one of the lowest paid state correctional employees in the United States."

Correctional Officers are already leaving in the thousands every year. Which will leave state prisons to wonder, who will be left to run them? 

 

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