Conservation Officers Want Same Pay Increase As State Police
By Mike Perleberg
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – Indiana Conservation Officers say they deserve a raise, too.
The two-year Indiana state budget bill currently being considered in the state Senate gives a 12-percent raise to employees of the Indiana State Police. The pay increase has been requested by Governor Eric Holcomb.
However, House Bill 1001 gives only six percent raises to conservation officers, excise police and Indiana Gaming Commission agents.
The bill gave equal six-percent increases to all state-level law enforcement officers when it was approved by the House in February. Yet, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted on March 30 to change the bill to up only Indiana State Police’s pay by another six percent.
Legislators have tried to appease officers in other agencies by promising to make up the difference in the next two-year budget to be approved in 2018.
“There is only one problem with that concept: legislators cannot offer a legally-binding assurance for a future legislative body. In other words, this figurative olive branch is a nice promise but ultimately meaningless,” a statement from the Indiana Turn in A Poacher, Inc. Board reads.
TIP is a non-profit conservation organization that works closely with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to offer cash rewards for natural resources crime tips and support the activities of the IDNR’s Division of Law Enforcement.
The board says the controversy isn’t necessarily over money.
“Officers fought for years to achieve ‘parity,’ the idea that police officers working for the same government body should receive equal pay. Now, that hard-won status is being shattered in an effort to appease the considerable political power of the Indiana State Police,” the board said.
After passing the appropriations committee, the budget bill heads to the full Senate. The TIP Board is asking voters to contact their legislators, particularly members of the Indiana Senate Appropriations Committee, by April 5 and ask them to support equal pay for all state-level law enforcement officers.