by Christian Wade
Connecticut state troopers will be the highest paid law enforcement officials in the state under a newly approved contract, which includes pay raises and other perks.
The Connecticut State Police Union, which represents about 840 rank and file troopers and sergeants, said it has ratified a four-year contract negotiated with Gov. Ned Lamont’s administration that includes a 2.5% pay raise, a double-digit increase in starting pay, and annual lump sum payments of 2% for senior troopers.
Troopers approved the agreement by a vote of 675 to 43 over several days of balloting, with 122 troopers not participating in the vote, the union announced late Tuesday.
The tentative contract with the police union must still be approved by lawmakers following a review of the financial cost by the Legislature’s Office of Fiscal Analysis.
Todd Fedigan, president of the Connecticut State Police Union, praised Lamont for his “commitment of ensuring our members are recognized for their dedication and sacrifice to preserving public safety.” He said the union’s leadership believes the contract “recognizes the unique circumstances and dangers of our profession.”
Lamont said the deal recognizes the “dedication, hard work, and sacrifice” of the state police and will help attract a new generation of troopers to the ranks to fill posts vacated by retirements and troopers leaving the job for other professions.
Under the contract terms, a certified police officer who joins the Connecticut state police from a city or town department will start at $73,000 a year with benefits.
The yearly rate of pay for trainees will go from $50,000 to $64,000, according to the union, and the first step for officers who have undergone training at the police academy will increase from about $61,000 to $71,000 a year, a roughly 16% increase.
To be sure, hundreds of Connecticut state troopers are already earning six figure salaries. In 2021, the median pay for troopers covered by the collective bargaining process was 118,307, according to state payroll records. At least a dozen state troopers were taking home more than $300,000 a year with benefits, records show.
Lamont has a rocky relationship with rank-and-file state police troopers. In 2020, their union overwhelmingly voted “no confidence” in him over the state’s “policing accountability” law, passed in response to the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police in 2020.
Republicans and the troopers’ union had argued that the policing reforms were driving away new recruits, and prompting many veteran officers to retire early.
The number of state troopers in Connecticut has fallen from more than 1,200 in 2009 to about 880, according to newly released state data.
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Christian Wade is a contributor to The Center Square.
Photo “Connecticut State Troopers” by Connecticut State Troopers.