UPEA Backs Bill That Would Create a Statewide Pay Plan for Public Safety Officers

The Utah Public Employees’ Association (UPEA) and Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, on Thursday announced a plan to pursue a statewide pay plan for law enforcement officers.

The announcement followed a town hall meeting UPEA hosted earlier in the day at the UPEA offices, during which state public safety employees discussed recruitment and retention of quality employees within the existing state employee pay structure. They overwhelmingly agreed that public safety employees need a separate pay plan.

“Public safety and law enforcement employees are at a critical crossroads” said Perry, a Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) lieutenant. “Better pay is essential to address the challenges they face.”

Perry said he will sponsor a bill, Law Enforcement Salary Plan Amendments, during the 2020 legislative session, which begins in January. If approved, the legislation will direct the Utah Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) to create a career ladder system for all Peace Officer Standard and Training (POST)-certified officers employed by the state.

Perry has long been an advocate for better pay for public safety employees. He supported a legislative appropriation to fund a career ladder system for UHP officers. During the 2019 Legislature, he also cosponsored Senate Bill 129, Public Safety and Fire Fighter Tier II Retirement Amendments, with Sen. Wayne Harper, R-Taylorsville. The legislation passed and enhanced retirement benefits for public safety officers and firefighters in the Tier II retirement system.

Like UHP officers, correctional officers also have a career ladder system, but officers who work in Division of Wildlife Resources, Adult Probation and Parole, State Parks, and the Tax Commission are not included in any such system.

Todd Losser, executive director of UPEA, said UPEA will lobby lawmakers to adopt Perry’s bill. “This is an important issue and part of UPEA’s mission.”

UPEA is the largest association representing public employees in the state of Utah.