Action Alert: Support ICO’s and other state law enforcement officers

conservation officers rifle law
Photo: Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Publishers Note: The following news release was sent today to media outlets by the Indiana TIP Board (full disclosure: WildIndiana publisher Brent T. Wheat is a TIP Board Member).  This message concerns a looming injustice to conservation officers and other state-level police officers at the hands of our state legislature.  If you support Indiana’s conservation officers and other state-level police, contact your legislators immediately as the vote for this bill is Wednesday, April 5.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
APRIL 3, 2017

TIP Supports Equal Pay for State Law Enforcement Officers

The Indiana Senate is sending a strong message to Indiana’s Conservation Officers, Excise Police Officers and State Gaming Agents: you aren’t worthy.

That is why members of the Indiana Turn In A Poacher, Inc, (TIP) Board are asking Hoosier outdoors enthusiasts to immediately contact members of the Indiana Senate Appropriations Committee to urge their support for equal pay and benefits for all state-level law enforcement officers.

The Senate Appropriations Committee approved HB1001 on March 30, 2017. However, it was drastically changed from the version of HB1001 approved by the Indiana House.

As passed by the House, HB1001 gave all state-level police a 6% pay raise after a massive public outcry over an “equal but not equal” pay scheme that arose in the initial bill filing.

Unfortunately, sometime after the house passed HB 1001 and it was introduced into the Senate Appropriations Committee, political maneuvering resulted in the Senate version offering a 12% pay raise to state troopers over the two years of the budget deal. All other state-level law enforcement officers were offered a 6% increase.

Apparently to offer a “spoonful of sugar” after the bitter pill, officers were told that the following two-year budget bill in 2018 would include a yearly 6% pay raise for the conservation officers, excise police and gaming agents, theoretically putting all officers back on equal footing after four years. There is only one problem with that concept: legislators cannot offer a legally-binding assurance for a future legislative body. In other words, this figurative olive branch is a nice promise but ultimately meaningless.

As conservation officers are quick to point out, the controversy isn’t over money. Officers fought for years to achieve “parity,” the idea that police officers working for the same government body should receive equal pay. Now, that hard-won status is being shattered in an effort to appease the considerable political power of the Indiana State Police.

The TIP Board wholeheartedly agrees that Indiana State Police wages should increase as the agency is clearly having difficulty in attracting and keeping qualified officers. However, the problem shouldn’t be solved on the back of Indiana’s hard-working and dedicated Conservation Officers, Excise Police and Gaming Agents, a smaller group of officers with less political clout who nonetheless faces the same dangers every day.

TIP urges all concerned citizens to contact the Indiana Senate Appropriations Committee at 1-800-382-9467 and urge them to strip the unfair police salary proposal from HB1001 before Wednesday, April 5, 2017

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Learn more about the TIP program at http://www.in.gov/dnr/lawenfor/2745.htm

MEMBERS OF THE INDIANA SENATE APPROPRIATIONS COMMITTEE:
Chairman- Sen. Luke Kenley,
Sen. Ryan Mishler
Sen. Eric Bassler,
Sen. Philip Boots
Sen. Liz Brown
Sen. Ed Charbonneau
Sen. Douglas Eckerty
Sen. Brandt Hershman
Sen. Chip Perfect
Sen. Karen Tallian
Sen. Han Breaux
Sen. David Niezgodski
Sen. Greg Taylor

ABOUT TIP-
Turn in a Poacher, Inc. (TIP) is a non-profit conservation organization that protects our fish and wildlife resources by increasing public support and involvement in bringing violators to justice. The TIP Board works closely with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources to offer cash rewards for natural resources crime tips and support the activities of the Division of Law Enforcement.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I have attempted to contact Chairman Luke Kenley, and Sen. Chip Perfect and have been unsuccessful. I hace sent multiple emails and made phone calls. The closest I got to speaking with a senator was when I spoke to Senator Perfect’s Assistant Kyle. I don’t believe the senators care.

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