State Patrol

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Starting salaries for Wisconsin state troopers would increase nearly $6,000 a year under their first new contract in five years that was poised for approval Wednesday after a previous agreement with higher raises was rejected.

The deal, heard by a committee of legislative leaders, was expected to be approved by lawmakers who were voting remotely by paper ballot. The results were to be released later Wednesday. No lawmaker voiced opposition to the plan during a brief hearing.

The troopers’ last approved contract ended in 2015. The new deal, covering 370 state troopers, is retroactive to the two year-period that ended in July 2019. Troopers will receive a lump sum payment.

Under the deal, starting salaries will increase from $43,680 a year to $49,358. The pay scale will be adjusted for all troopers based on their years of service and they will also receive a 2% pay raise for each of the past two years. Troopers will now reach the top pay scale of $71,593 after seven years rather than 10.

Total increases amount to a 9.9 bump for the entire bargaining unit. Republican legislative leaders balked at the previous contract, which had starting salary increases of more than 20%. The total cost of the new deal is about $2.6 million, or roughly half as much as the rejected plan.

Chad Thompson, a master trooper based in Wood County who is also president of the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Association, said he hoped the new deal would help the Wisconsin State Patrol with recruitment and retention. He was also optimistic that a new contract, covering the current year and beyond, could be negotiated soon.

“We’d like to never get to this position again where we have that four or five year gap between contracts,” he said.