February 8, 2006
A new study shows some of Georgia's troopers are paid thousands less than those outside the peach state. News 12 is on your side with how this could be affecting your safety.
We rely on them everyday as we head to work or school but if the salaries for state troopers are not beefed up, we could soon be seeing fewer of them on Georgia's roads.
It takes a lot of training to sound the siren and to brave the badge of a state trooper. All Steve Shelton asks for in return is fair pay.
"We do everything that we can to keep the roads safe for people to travel," said Steve Shelton trooper first class.
Shelton's been with the patrol for fifteen years and just recently, a study, showing a trooper like him makes far less than his counterpart in North Carolina. Also in the study is a comparison of starting salaries. A Georgia state trooper for example, starts at $31,000 while an entry-level police officer in Cobb County makes $34,000.
"For somebody who can start with my experience and go to another agency and make thirteen, fourteen thousand dollars more, you're a fool if you don't want to do that," Shelton said.
And the numbers don't appear to be fooling recruits either. According to the Associated Press, 100 new positions were set to be filled last year. Only half of them were.
"Well we need troopers out there, that's a fact. They keep everybody safe," said Patrick Dixon, driver.
With the safety of Georgia's streets at stake, representatives are forming a study committee to investigate the state's pay scale, comparing the salaries of police officers, troopers and even investigators.
In the meantime Shelton worries team morale is low.
"The one thing the troopers have to look at is they know who they are, they know what they've done to earn that title, to get the opportunity to wear that big hat," Shelton said.
While some troopers may think they're underpaid, they might want to check this out.
State trooper starting salaries:
Florida - $32,228
Georgia - $31,474
South Carolina - $28,595
Alabama - $26,411
North Carolina - $25,781
We did some research and found that out of these five Southern states, an entry-level trooper in Georgia makes more than most with the exception of Florida.