Fey sends bill to retain experienced Washington State Patrol troopers to the governor’s desk

OLYMPIA—Over the past several years, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) has struggled with maintaining its authorized level of 683 field force troopers. Its current workforce is nearly 25 percent shy of where it should be—and the WSP faces more than 100 potential retirements in the next few years.   

That’s why Rep. Jake Fey, D-Tacoma, has been working on this issue for the past couple of years.  

This year, Fey’s introduced House Bill 2357, which will establish a state patrol longevity bonus. It passed the House unanimously on Feb. 12 and the Senate unanimously on March 1. It went to concurrence and passed the House one final time yesterday and the Senate one final time today and now goes to the governor’s desk for his signature before becoming law.  

HB 2357 incentivizes retaining senior, experienced WSF staff with the establishment of a state patrol longevity bonus pilot program. Currently, 122 people are retirement-eligible within the WSP and this program would offer troopers with 26 years or more of service $15,000 per each additional year of added service.  

“Last year, my work to support the Washington State Patrol was with House Bill 1638, which created an accelerated training program for lateral hires from other law enforcement agencies within the state and across the country and provides bonuses to cadets and lateral hires,” said Fey. “Yet, I knew this alone wouldn’t suffice to get WSP staffing back to appropriate staffing levels and that more would need to be done to increase the WSP capacity, and that is why in 2024, HB 2357 was needed,” he added.