Hutchinson signs bills providing stipends and pay raise for police

Law enforcement officials and lawmakers gathered at the State Capitol today as Governor Asa Hutchinson signed a bill that provides one-time stipends of up to $5,000 to police and probation and parole officers, and a second bill that increases pay for Arkansas State Troopers and other Department of Public Safety-certified law enforcement officers .

“It was a public service session where we showed our appreciation and the value we place on our law enforcement officers,” Hutchinson said. “There has not been a session of the legislature that has done more to my knowledge for the enforcement of the law.”

Senate Bill 103 grants a one-time $5,000 stipend to certified full-time city and county law enforcement officers and certified full-time Department of Services probation and parole officers state corrections. The bill provides a one-time $2,000 stipend to certified full-time state troopers and other Department of Public Safety-certified law enforcement officers.

Pro Tempore Senator Jimmy Hickey sponsored the bill in the Senate, and House Speaker Matthew Shepherd passed it in the House.

House Bill 1206 increases the average annual starting salary for state troopers from $42,357 to $54,000.

“That’s an increase of more than $11,000 in starting pay for our state troopers,” the governor said. “This will take us from seventh in our region for starting salaries to second in our region.”

Private first class pay will increase from $53,035 to $60,006. The average annual salary for corporals will increase from $63,612 to $71,237; Sergeant pay will increase from $74,319 to $84,439. The average annual salary for lieutenants will increase from $84,229 to $94,076; captains from $94,277 to $105,166: majors from $107,541 to $116,772.

HB1206 is also funding the salaries of five other forensic positions so the Arkansas Crime Lab can complete sexual assault kit testing within 60 days, as required by Law 839 of 2019.

The governor also signed Senate Bill 101, amending the Income Stabilization Act in part to fund increased salaries for state troopers. The bill also funds an increase to the Department of Corrections budget to increase reimbursements to county jails from $32 per day to $40 per day. SB 101 also includes funds to fund a Calico Rock prison construction project, improvements to schools for the deaf and blind, and the Northwest Arkansas Veterans Home. SB 101 is also providing $10 million for body cameras, body armor and other gear.

“No responsibility is more important to government than ensuring public safety,” the governor said. “Our police are risking their lives…and they deserve our support and our thanks.”

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William M. Mayer