The State Patrol is getting new uniforms for the first time since the 1960s. The hope is that the new uniforms will boost morale. The bowtie, the French blue, and the campaign hats -- all the hallmarks of the old trooper uniform are still there. But they’re more comfortable, says Kyle Moore of the Washington State Patrol.
“Right now, our uniforms are wool, and you have to imagine that our agency covers the whole entire state,” said Moore.
Meaning, if it’s 95 degrees in Pasco, you’re going to be sweating a lot in those wool uniforms. The new uniforms will be lightweight, more breathable, and they fit into a larger push to retain officers. The department is down 127 troopers. And a study released in December cited a number of problems with retention and recruitment.
For one, members of the state patrol are paid less than other law enforcement officers. But the rate of attrition is trending down after troopers were given a raise by the state Legislature. Moore also emphasized one of the perks of being a trooper: the type of work you do.
“When you’re a trooper, you’re dealing with a different type of law enforcement; You’re out on the roadway; You’re keeping people safe; You’re making sure people get from place A to place B safely,” Moore said. “And you’re not dealing with some of the more difficult calls that law enforcement officers have to deal with, which are domestic violence, drug overdose calls, a lot of these calls that you’d see in urban environments.”
The State Patrol has started an ad campaign with troopers telling their stories in hopes of attracting younger recruits. They’re goal is to double their incoming class this coming year to make up for losses.