Governor LePage Seeks to Adjust Salaries for Law Enforcement Officers

March 14, 2016

For Immediate Release: Monday, March 14, 2016
Contact: Adrienne Bennett, Press Secretary, 207-287-2531

AUGUSTA – Governor Paul R. LePage today called on legislators to support a measure bringing Maine law enforcement wages more in line with other New England states. Governor LePage emphasized that his bill, LD 1653, “An Act Implementing Pay Increases for Certain Law Enforcement Employees to Aid in Recruitment and Retention must pass as a stand-alone bill.

LD 1653 is sponsored by Republican House Leader Kenneth Fredette (R-Newport) and provides for the upward adjustment of salary schedules in fiscal year 2015-16 by 12 percent to 18 percent for certain law enforcement positions in the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Department of Marine Resources.

“Law enforcement officers across Maine put their lives on the line every day to protect the Maine people and the value of their public service ought to be reflected in a decent salary,” said Governor LePage. “However, Democrats are attempting to roll this bill into a totally separate budget bill in an effort to spend more taxpayer money. Like the tax conformity and education bills, these are two separate issues and must be dealt with on their own merit. We do not need another budget bill. Legislators chose to spend an additional $300 million in last year’s budget, and I do not support any more out-of-control spending at the taxpayers’ expense. Legislators can either pass a stand-alone bill for law enforcement wages, or I will call them back in this summer to deal with this again. The choice is theirs.”

Recruitment in law enforcement positions within State government remains a challenge. For example, the Department of Public Safety has a total of 324 Maine State Police positions with 32 positions vacant. An additional 25 members of the Maine State Police are eligible for retirement this year.

Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety John Morris says recruitment is particularly difficult in Southern Maine. “Unique aspects of being a Trooper include being on-call, working alone and possibly being assigned anywhere in Maine,” said Commissioner Morris. “In recent years we have seen a dramatic decrease in applicants with only 11 successful applicants in 2015. Counterparts in other New England states average $6 to $14 more per hour compared to Maine. We are also competing with local police agencies that pay higher salaries than the Maine State Police.”

Maine State Troopers Compared to other Counterparts
Starting pay for Maine Trooper = $18.57 an hour
Starting officer in Gorham PD = $25.82 ($7.25 higher than a Trooper)
NH Trooper = $23.19 ($4.72 higher)
VT Trooper = $27.00 ($8.53 higher)

The bill adjusts salary schedules by 12 percent for all positions classified as Game Warden Sergeant, Game Warden Lieutenant, Marine Patrol Pilot Supervisor, Marine Patrol Sergeant or Marine Patrol Lieutenant;

by 13 percent for all positions classified as State Police Trooper, Game Warden Investigator, Game Warden Specialist, Capitol Police Officer or Fire Investigator;

by 14 percent for all positions classified as Game Warden Pilot Supervisor;

by 15 percent for all positions classified as State Police Specialist, State Police Corporal, State Police Detective, State Police Polygraph Examiner, State Police Forensic Specialist, State Police Pilot, State Police Pilot Supervisor, State Police Polygraph Examiner Supervisor, State Police Sergeant-E, Game Warden, Marine Patrol Officer, Capitol Police Sergeant, Senior Fire Investigator, Fire Investigations Sergeant or Forensic Specialist, Dual Discipline; by 17 percent for all positions classified as Game Warden Pilot;

and by 18 percent for all positions classified as State Police Lieutenant, Capitol Police Lieutenant or Marine Patrol Specialist.

The bill would be effective at the beginning of the pay period commencing closest to May 1, 2016.