Dept. of Public Safety offers $5K sign-on bonus to help recruit new S.C. troopers

Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 11:00 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 11, 2022 at 11:09 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – The South Carolina Department of Public Safety is hoping some new incentives will help put more troopers on the roads.

Currently, the South Carolina Highway Patrol has 72 vacancies across the state.

Out of those vacancies, 61 are troopers and 11 are supervisors in the agency.

“Not only is law enforcement competing against each other for qualified applicants, we are competing with the private sector as well,” said SCDPS Director Robert G. Woods IV.

Because of that, the SCDPS has had to come up with creative solutions to help with recruitment.

The agency is now offering a $5,000 sign-on bonus for those who want to become a Highway Patrol trooper, a State Transport police officer, or an officer with the Bureau of Protective Services and completes all of the SCDPS’s required training.

On top of the bonus, the agency is offering new starting salaries that range between $49,440 and $57,449 based on troopers’ previous year’s experience.

The South Carolina Department of Public Safety credited Gov. Henry McMaster and the General Assembly with being able to increase the starting salaries.

Woods said they are looking for people who want to serve their communities and don’t want a normal 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job.

When we talk to recruits who apply to one of our law enforcement divisions, one of the top reasons expressed as to why they want to join SCDPS is that they want a sense of purpose in their work. They don’t want a job where they just clock in and clock out. They want to serve others,” Woods explained. “We can teach people how to do this job, but we can’t teach them how to have integrity, grit and honor. If someone has those characteristics, we hope they will consider applying. We need them and our state needs them.”

Captain Kelley Huges, a 30 Highway Patrol veteran, said he hopes these new benefits will encourage candidates to apply so they can better serve the community.

“By filling those 61 vacancies, it will allow our agency to do more proactive work, whether that’s working [for] the communities with community relations or whether that’s enforcement on the interstates,” said Huges.

Huges also explained that current employees who refer applicants can receive up to a $500 bonus.

Starting in October, SCDPD employees will be offered six weeks of paid maternity leave and two weeks of paid paternity leave. The new benefit is offered to all state employees.

Those interested in applying to be part of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety can CLICK HERE for more information.

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