Nebraska State Patrol works to fill trooper vacancies
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -In just a few short months, Nebraska State Patrol Troopers will be making more money. That’s due in part to Governor Jim Pillen, who allowed for a 22% increase for troopers.
Nebraska State Patrol said the move is critical in helping them fill vacancies across the state. NSP said a variety of factors have impacted their hiring in the last few years. The low unemployment rate, recent incidents with law enforcement, and pay rates, they said, all affected the number of people applying to be troopers.
Right now, 15 recruits are training as part of Camp 67. They’re slated to graduate on April 3, but these 15 troopers won’t patch the vacancy hole at Nebraska State Patrol. Right now, there are about 60 open spots.
“Response times can be affected,” said Col. John Bolduc. “But we haven’t seen an across-the-board decrease. When you have fewer people, you would think that you will do less work. But I’m proud to say that the team has not gone backward in terms of statistics, number of arrests of DUIs, number of field contacts with traffic stops, and number of arrests of serious offenders has not gone down during our vacancy challenge. So that means that our troopers and staff are doing more work with the resources we have.”
Of those 15 recruits in this year’s camp, five are women and four are racial minorities. Diversifying is an effort the State Patrol said they’re working towards with every recruitment cycle.
“Once we start breaking some of those barriers, we will we believe begin recruiting more,” Bolduc said.
10/11 NOW asked Col. Bolduc, in the wake of the recent release of the Tyre Nichols video of his fatal beating, if NSP doing anything to combat things like implicit bias.
“Implicit bias training,” said Col Bolduc. “Those types of things have been in our curriculum for many years, really trying to get our troopers to understand the role in our local communities across the state which are becoming more diverse, literally every month.”
As for pay, Gov. Pillen’s recent declaration means the new max base salary for troopers is about $94,000 per year. It’s a pay rate Bolduc said makes them competitive with other local law enforcement agencies.
“If a recruit is interested in law enforcement, and they have choices, perhaps going to Lincoln police, Omaha police, some of the suburban agencies in Omaha, versus the State Patrol, and the deciding factor is wages, you’re going to lose out on that opportunity for that recruit with the wages being relatively equal,” said Col. Bolduc. “We’re now on equal footing.”
The application process to become a State Trooper opens on Feb. 6.
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