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Trooper says raise 'a good start'

March 23, 1999|By BRYN MICKLE

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The $2,000 raise for West Virginia State Police approved by the state Legislature last weekend still leaves trooper pay lagging behind troopers in other states, according to the head of the West Virginia Troopers Association.

"It's a good start, but we would like to see it get to the point where our pay is competitive with other states," said WVTA President Dave Williams.

The West Virginia Legislature approved a $2.26 billion general revenue budget Sunday after Gov. Cecil Underwood called a special session that allowed lawmakers to revisit the issue of pay raises.

Despite the raise, Williams said pay for West Virginia troopers remains behind that of state police in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Kentucky.

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With the raise, a first-year trooper in West Virginia will earn $28,259, compared to the $38,515 starting salary for a Pennsylvania State Police trooper, according to the WVTA.

"The $2,000 raise is a 5 percent increase. Kentucky has already approved a 5 percent raise plus $2,000 and Virginia has a 6.25 percent raise on the board," said Williams. "This is a step in the right direction."

Troopers in the Eastern Panhandle appreciate the $2,000 raise but are disappointed it wasn't more, said WVTA representative Sgt. Joe Adams of the Martinsburg detachment.

"It helps somewhat, but we're still bleeding," said Adams.

A House of Delegates proposal that would have given troopers a $3,972 raise failed.

Adams said the money was in the budget for a higher raise.

"I hope this will be back on the slate next year, because the money is there," he said.

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