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State Troopers in Washington State Unhappy With Agency Management, Amidst Complaints of Being Underpaid

Posted by Aaron J. Wolff | Jan 20, 2016 | 0 Comments

Few things create more trouble for employers than hearing reverberations of dissatisfaction among the ranks of employees.  The management of any business entity is comparable to the balancing act that takes place in courts of law all over the country every day.  Unlike a court's duties of reviewing facts, deciding applicable law, and hearing relevant testimony, a business must govern finances and ensure a positive morale in order to ensure its operations run smoothly. Government agencies are no different than your main street business. As reported by the Seattle Times, Washington State Patrol (WSP) management is currently facing issues with troopers leaving due to retirement, complaints of underpayment, and discontent over management.  Simply put, the future of the agency is in trouble.  Perhaps their troubles will equate to less trouble for those who would otherwise face convictions, including DUIs.

These shocking revelations for the state agency come on the heels of a new report released by Public Financial Management.  Some of the most moving statistics in the report include responses from a survey from nearly 500 troopers and sergeants.  Among the group, nearly half claim that their opinions are not taken into account by WSP and 46 percent did not feel valued by the agency.

Disgruntled Troopers Might Mean Less DUI Enforcement -- WSP Takes its Criticism From the Source

The Executive Summary and Report Overview reveal more insight into the issues facing the agency, recognizing that money alone won't be enough to repair the problem.  The report states, “Investing in greater compensation without also addressing employee satisfaction is unlikely to resolve the WSP's current retention and recruitment issues.”  One trend that is interesting is the post Great Recession period where Trooper turnover increased, especially those with fewer than ten years of service.  Field operations on Washington's highways will also be affected over the next decade due to retirement, imposing additional burdens on staffing for the Field Force workforce -- a group of 690 Troopers and Sergeants who conduct State highway and ferry patrols. The Washington State Legislature has requested an analysis of recruiting and retention practices with the hopes of discovering how to attract and, more importantly, retain a skilled trooper workforce.

Interestingly, the report discussed trooper unhappiness being related to the agency's expectations over the number of tickets that are to be issued, as well as the number of stops that should be made.  A respondent from the report stated that the agency is “numbers driven” and has “lost touch” with the purpose for having troopers in the first place.  Many citizens may agree with another respondent's comment where the trooper felt “stressed out” because she felt the agency was “numbers-based” -- leading to worry about getting “the right number of stops for the right reasons.”  

How Will Fewer Troopers on Patrol Affect DUI Convictions?

With trooper morale the way it is, it begs the question -- how will DUI enforcement be affected across the state?  As currently projected, fewer troopers will be patrolling the highways, and the public's perception of less law enforcement may lead to a decrease in DUI convictions. Still, should you face DUI charges despite there being fewer patrols on our state's highways, do not hesitate to contact Wolff Defense where I will walk you through the process from beginning to end -- all while being easily accessible as I assist you in navigating the legal system.

About the Author

Aaron J. Wolff

A former DUI prosecutor, Aaron Wolff has over 16 years of experience in representing people accused of DUI and is recognized as one of the leading defense lawyers in Washington State. His relentless and passionate advocacy has lead to superb ratings and outstanding reviews from former clients.

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