House Bill 252, State Pay Plan Amendments, sponsored by Rep Ryan Wilcox, R-Ogden, addresses a current disparity among peace officers employed by the state of Utah. Over the last several years the Department of Corrections and the Department of Public Safety have implemented career ladders for their POST certified officers – these plans grant salary increases or “steps” to reward existing officers for their time and experience within the department, while also serving as a recruitment incentive for officers interested in state employment. Currently, DNR POST certified peace officers do not have a career ladder.
HB 252 directs the Department of Human Resource Management (DHRM) to create, define, and establish a career ladder pay plan for POST-certified officers employed by DNR.
“I have observed many good officers start their career with wildlife resources, […] then move on to another agency and it seems like we just kept training more and more officers” stated Matthew Briggs, a UPEA Past President and a certified officer with the Division of Wildlife Resources who testified in support of the bill. Briggs continued “I have seen how [officers in other divisions’] morale has increased and how they’re able to keep their officers.”
UPEA Executive Director, Todd Losser, worked with Rep Wilcox on HB252 in the months prior to the Legislative session. Losser encouraged the legislature’s support for the bill and stated “both the Highway Patrol and Department of Corrections have been able to take care of a compression problem and have outlined a career for [their] officers. [These pay plans] have created a sense of stability, knowing that officers with the state of Utah can have a career.”
HB252 received wide support from both the House and the Senate and passed during week 4 of the session. While this legislation creates the platform for a career ladder, it does not fund the pay plan. Once the plan has been created, DHRM will provide a calculation for future budget requirements. Funding is approved each year by the Legislature. UPEA will continue to work with DHRM throughout this process and will lobby the Legislature to fund the implementation of the pay plan once it is complete.