Plan includes moving all statewide law enforcement back to defined pension benefitsFRANKFORT, Ky. (Aug. 9, 2023)
– With a record budget surplus, the largest Rainy Day Fund in state history and very good economic conditions, Gov. Andy Beshear today started to outline his budget plan, which includes more funding to support law enforcement officers and boost public safety.
The plan includes moving all statewide law enforcement officers back to defined pension benefits; boosting salaries for Kentucky State Police again; boosting local law enforcement officers’ training stipend to an all-time high; making part-time local law enforcement officers eligible for the training stipend and providing grant funding to upgrade body armor.
“Our law enforcement officers dedicate their lives to protecting others. They deserve the best wages, benefits and training, and that is exactly what my budget includes,” Gov. Beshear said. “Investing in our law enforcement is critical to building that better Kentucky and making the commonwealth the safest place for our families to live and prosper.”
The Governor’s 2024-2026 budget proposal includes:
- Moving all statewide law enforcement pension plans back to defined pension benefits (State Police, County Employees-Hazardous, Kentucky Employees-Hazardous), increasing pension income for retired Kentucky State Police troopers and local jurisdictions in those pension plans. Better pension benefits are needed to improve both the recruitment and retention of our front-line public safety employees.
- Boosting pay for law enforcement with an additional $2,500 raise for all KRS Chapter 16 employees, which includes all troopers, vehicle enforcement officers and a few other job classes. This builds on the historic $15,000 per year pay pump the Governor signed into law in 2022, the 6.5% salary bump these employees received July 1, 2023, and a $300 increase in the training incentive stipend. If passed, today’s proposal would build on the efforts from the past two years, which resulted in at least a $18,875 pay bump.
- Support for training for local law enforcement officers by raising the current $4,300 training stipend to an all-time high of $4,800, building on the $300 increase that went into effect in the current budget.
- Support for part-time local law enforcement officers by also making them eligible for the training stipend as they are required to meet the same training requirements as full-time officers.
- Providing grant funding to upgrade body armor to protect local law enforcement officers, inspired by KSP Trooper Billy Ball, who was able to fully recover after being shot while on duty, due to his body armor.
Gov. Beshear was joined by KSP Commissioner Col. Phillip Burnett Jr. and Trooper Ball, who each spoke about the importance of these investments to law enforcement.
“Every law enforcement family deserves to know their loved one in uniform is safe,” said Trooper Ball. “Providing protective equipment and resources to Kentucky’s law enforcement officers can save lives, and it has before – including mine. Increasing grant funding to local law enforcement is a great step forward in protecting all Kentucky’s peace officers.”
“Due to the efforts of Gov. Beshear and the General Assembly, KSP troopers and officers have received historic pay increases, which makes the agency more competitive to recruit in Kentucky and beyond,” said Commissioner Burnett. “Growing our ranks enhances the safety of our communities, our sworn and all of our law enforcement partners across the commonwealth. Another significant benefit is now troopers and officers aren’t having to work secondary employment to support their families. Now, they can spend more time with their loved ones.”
In July, Gov. Beshear announced
that his administration secured the largest-ever General Fund budget surplus, creating the largest Rainy Day Fund in state history.
Final accounting records for the spending budget are now complete, bringing the General Fund budget surplus at the end of fiscal year 2023 to more than $1.55 billion. Nearly all of the surplus went into the commonwealth’s Rainy Day Fund, bringing that fund to a record balance of $3.7 billion – a 2,700% increase since Gov. Beshear took office in 2019.
With this historic budget surplus, record economic growth and very good economic conditions in Kentucky, Gov. Beshear said he will continue to support law enforcement, just as he has done throughout his term.
In November 2021, the Governor announced
that his two-year budget proposal would provide millions of dollars to fund competitive salaries for KSP troopers and officers.
During the 2022 regular session, the Governor secured all troopers a $15,000 raise, and KSP’s starting pay for sworn officers increased from $40,000 to $55,000 annually. This was the largest single pay raise in KSP history.
Additionally, in the last state budget, the Governor signed into law an increase in the annual training stipend for sworn officers across the state by $300 – raising the annual training incentive from $4,000 to $4,300 upon completion of 40 hours of certified law enforcement training. This increase supports more than 7,600 officers annually, ensuring Kentucky’s law enforcement officers are both safe and effective while making our communities safer.
The Governor also worked with lawmakers to provide a unique contribution enhancement for members of the State Police Retirement System Tier III plan, which had an immediate impact on veteran troopers, graduates of the KSP training academy and new recruits. Enhanced promotion pay for troopers and commercial vehicle enforcement officers was also secured. This was the second time the Governor sought to fund troopers’ salary increases in the commonwealth’s budget.
Gov. Beshear also signed into law legislation that established paid vacation, sick leave and holiday pay, as well as enhanced health insurance contribution payments for retired KSP troopers and commercial vehicle enforcement officers that have returned to work for the KSP.
This year, Gov. Beshear raised the annual
salaries for telecommunicators by more than $8,000 a year and gave KSP telecommunicators the ability to receive an annual $3,100 training stipend. KSP telecommunicators now receive a starting salary of more than $41,000 annually.
The Governor is committed to supporting KSP’s continued recruitment efforts.
KSP has approximately 895 troopers serving and protecting Kentucky’s 120 counties. On Aug. 11, KSP will graduate the next round of cadets, bringing the sworn trooper numbers up to roughly 940. This is the highest number of troopers the agency has employed since 2006. KSP is accepting applications for Cadet Class 104 and has already received over 700 applicants, the highest number of applicants received since 2017. Cadet Class 104 is scheduled to start at the academy at the beginning of 2024.