Fey’s State Trooper Bill Advances to the Senate

OLYMPIA—Rep. Jake Fey (D-Tacoma)’s bipartisan bill (SHB 1638) to make being a state trooper a more attractive career choice was heard on the House floor today and passed with a vote of 94-1.

This bill focuses on the recruitment for the Washington State Patrol (WSP). Washingtonians rely on the WSP for traffic law enforcement and motorist assistance on our state’s roads. This bill will establish better hiring practices, an accelerated training program for lateral hires from other law enforcement agencies in the country and to provide bonuses to cadets and lateral hires in two stages.

“The state has been breaking records recently, but not in a good way,” said Fey. “The number of fatalities on our roads are up, both for motorists and pedestrians. This bill will improve the situation for motorists and pedestrians across our state. One way to do this is by having our state patrol out and working on our roadways—we need troopers to enforce roadway regulations and help us when we need assistance on the road,” he added.

“A few years ago, the Washington State Patrol would receive 400 applicants a month,” Fey said. “Now it’s down to 53 applicants a month. The percentage of people who apply and then are eligible for hire is just six percent. Years back, that was six percent of 400 – now it’s six percent of 53. This is unacceptable, and it’s unsatisfactory for the people who need to have a critical level of protection and response to whatever kind of emergency they might have on our state highways. I am glad this bill is advancing as we need to fix this issue now.”

The WSP is responsible for traffic law enforcement, collision investigation, criminal interdiction, terrorism prevention, and motorist assistance on the interstate and state highway systems. At present, the WSP has 516 field force troopers – 167 below the authorized level of 683 field force troopers. The agency says it’s difficult to attract quality applicants, let alone hire.

HB 1363 now heads to the Senate for further consideration.