Georgia lawmakers begin studying state trooper recruitment, retention

(The Center Square) — A Georgia House working group is exploring how the state can attract and retain state troopers, and it could lead to additional state funding for increased compensation.

“Ultimately, your work should allow us to increase the number of state patrol troopers keeping our highways and our communities safe,” Speaker Jon Burns, R-Newington, said during a Tuesday House Working Group on Public Safety meeting. “…This is not a simple issue; it’s multifaceted. It’s going to take some really good thought and some inspection and contemplation to come up with solutions and bring back to us.”

Burns said compensation, benefits, training and equipment upgrades are among the solutions the group might consider.

According to state officials, Georgia has about 700 state troopers, and Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina all have more state troopers than the Peach State. State lawmakers included raises for state employees in this year’s budget, but lawmakers indicated it might not be enough, especially considering increased costs.

“This is an issue of supply and demand. It’s not like it used to be, and in order to get our supply, we have to pay for it now,” state Rep. Bill Hitchens, R-Rincon, said during the meeting. “…Inflation certainly has taken its toll too.

“It’s going to be difficult in the future to hire people that want to do this job, that have the capability and that have the high moral and ethical standards that we demand from them,” Hitchens added. “…Many of us have been in some type of government organization previously and understand the role of the taxpayer, and that we just can’t do everything that we want to do. We’re limited in how much money there is.”

By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor

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