Consultants leading a study on why dozens of troopers have recently left the Washington State Patrol warned Thursday that the agency is in “dire straits.”
Thirty-three troopers have resigned so far this year. That exodus prompted lawmakers to examine why the Patrol is losing people faster than it can hire them.
The Patrol is getting hammered on the front end and the back end. Young troopers are leaving for higher pay and more action with local police departments. Meanwhile a record 80 commissioned staff are eligible to retire this year.
Former Sacramento police chief Rick Braziel is on the team assessing the Patrol’s condition. He told a panel of lawmakers the agency is like a patient arriving at the emergency room.
“You’ve got a lot of bleeding going on and it does not good if we’re just looking at pumping in more blood,” Braziel said. “We’ve got to stop the bleeding first and at the same time figure out how we get more fluids in because the rest of the system will start to shut down.”
Troopers who leave the agency cite management and pay as their chief complaints.
A study due in December will recommend ways the state can recruit and retain more troopers.