Skip to content

General Assembly approves new State Police contract

Citing low recruitment numbers, declining employee levels and massive overtime payouts, lawmakers in the General Assembly voted almost unanimously for a new Connecticut State Police Contract that will boost trooper pay and hopefully increase recruitment.

The chronically understaffed Connecticut State Police has fallen to roughly 880 state troopers, with management saying they need at least 1,150 troopers in order to adequately staff shifts, respond to emergency calls and reduce overtime spending which is among the highest in the state.

The new union contract, valued at roughly $70 million, will offer 2.5 percent pay increases over the next three years, a $3,500 bonus and a wage re-opener in the fourth year, mirroring the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition contract approved by the General Assembly last year. 

“This contract has at its core a desire to increase recruitment, increase retention for our state employees, in this case, our state police,” said Rep. Michael D’Agostino, D-Hamden. “I would note that we’ve lost 400 of our state police in the last four years, there are currently zero majors, one captain; young police officers are going to neighboring municipalities, they are not becoming state police.”

Underlying discussion on the bill was the Police Accountability Act passed in 2020 in the wake of the death of George Floyd in Milwaukee. Republican lawmakers cited the bill repeatedly as a cause for low police morale and recruitment, with the new contract attempting to sweeten the deal for potential recruits.

“I’m a fiscally conservative person and a $70 million price tag is a large lump to swallow, but I ask myself, why is this so large?” said Tammy Nuccio, R-Tolland. “But I don’t think we can ignore the national and state of Connecticut anti-police sentiment that we’ve seen. The defund the police movement and the local police accountability law here has taken a massive toll on our force’s morale.”

State Trooper levels have become of larger concern as traffic stops plummeted to low levels in the wake of the pandemic, traffic deaths have increased, and the State saw a large wave of employee retirements due to changes in how retirement cost of living increases would be calculated following a June 30, 2022 cut-off date.

In addition to the pay increases and adjustment of how troopers receive annual step increases, the contract does include changes made under the Police Accountability Act, which removed a previous contract provision that prevented some personnel records from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. 

Under the contract just passed, if a trooper has a reasonable belief that an FOI request has a will constitute an invasion of privacy, the matter will go to the Freedom of Information Commission for a decision.

D’Agostino said the wage reopener in the fourth year of the contract – the same as in the large SEBAC contract for state employees — will allow the state to take “a more wholistic approach” to the contract if economic and state fiscal conditions change.

Gov. Ned Lamont, whose administration negotiated the deal, praised the passage, saying Connecticut State Police are “among the finest members of law enforcement in the nation.”

“They deserve to be recognized for their integrity, commitment to service, and the sacrifices they and their families make. This new contract provides financial and other incentives for the retention and recruitment of the best troopers and candidates,” Lamont said.

The contract passed 142-1 in the House and 35-1 in the Senate.

Marc E. Fitch, Senior Investigative Reporter

Marc E. Fitch

Marc worked as an investigative reporter for Yankee Institute and was a 2014 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow. He previously worked in the field of mental health is the author of several books and novels, along with numerous freelance reporting jobs and publications. Marc has a Master of Fine Arts degree from Western Connecticut State University.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *