CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Police Superintendent Col. Jay Smithers asked some state lawmakers Monday to financially help his agency.
Smithers spoke on a number of funding topics during his appearance before a legislative interim committee at the state capitol.
The superintendent said the State Police is in need of new cadet classes but they need to be on a consistent basis. He said trying to predict when a new cadet class is going to happen hinders recruiting.
“The problem is the inconsistency in being able to tell that person when we’re going to have a class. So the next thing you know they’re working somewhere else.”
Smithers said if lawmakers would promise to have cadet classes totaling 250 new troopers over the next five years he would have no problem filling the classes.
‘If we knew that the funding was available over the next five years to the point that we could advertise and go out and target people in our areas of need, it would be a simple process,” he said.
As he has in previous appearances before lawmakers, Col. Smithers stressed the need Monday for an increase in pay for civilian workers with the State Police. He said a recent check of the Records Division, where most workers are civilians, showed a high turnover rate.
“We’ve hired 36 employees and we’ve had 25 turnovers and it’s all because of our starting salaries. It’s horrible,” Smithers said.
Many of the workers head to other law enforcement agencies because, according to Smithers, those agencies know the workers have gone through extensive background checks and they’ve been properly trained.
“Now they are very marketable,” he said.