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Gov. Scott To Propose Pay Hike for State Law Enforcement Officers

File photo: Florida Gov. Rick Scott
File photo: Florida Gov. Rick Scott

Gov. Rick Scott is proposing a pay raise for state law enforcement officers. At a press conference in Orlando on Thursday, Scott announced he will recommend a five percent hike during the next legislative session in March. That proposal would add up to an extra $11.7 million for agencies such as the Florida Highway Patrol and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

At a press conference in Orlando Governor Scott lauded both groups for their work over the past year during the Pulse nightclub shootings and Hurricane Matthew.

“When you look at the lifesaving things they do—I’ve been to 32 fallen officer funerals since I got elected. We’ve got to recognize and reward our law enforcement,” said Scott.

The current starting salary for sworn highway patrol troopers is about $33,990. Florida Highway Patrol Col. Gene Spaulding said the agency is facing high turnover is high due to competition with city and county law enforcement agencies.

“It’s tough when you get in some of the south Florida markets, agencies that pay significantly more that are in the Florida retirement system," he said. "You know, it’s no detriment to a trooper to leave after 5 or 6 years.”

State sworn officers received their last pay hike in 2013. In central Florida, base salaries for troopers are higher to compete with the Orlando Police Department. The current base salary is $38,500.

Pay raises for state sworn law enforcement officers can only be mandated by the state legislature.

If Scott's proposal is approved, pay raises could show up in paychecks as early as July.