Conservation officers still left in the lurch by the Indiana Senate.

In spite of calls for fairness and equal treatment, the Indiana Senate has again utterly ignored the concerns of Indiana’s Conservation Officers, Excise Police and State Gaming Agents by passing a draft budget that only gives those officers half the pay raise being offered to the Indiana State Police.

This all stems from the ongoing fight over House Bill 1001, Indiana’s two-year budget. To make a long, messy story short, the bill offers Indiana State Police (ISP) a very nice raise because they are underpaid and are having a tough time attracting new recruits or keeping experienced troopers.

ISP is in a bad spot; but what's worse is the fact that all other state-level law enforcement agencies are being told they’re only worthy of half that pay raise because their respective agency heads didn’t raise the specter of trouble during budget hearings.

After a great public outcry over the house version, it was amended to give all the officers the same pay and benefits.

The bill then went into the senate where, surprisingly, everyone was offered an even better raise but the troopers were again given twice that being proposed for the other officers. It would appear to be a situation where lawmakers are throwing money at the controversy under the idea that no one will dare complain when they’re getting a nice raise, even if it is unfairly applied across the agencies.

If you trust nothing else I say, believe this: conservation officers are anything but mollified. “Furious” might be too weak of a word to use judging by the emails, text messages and personal contacts we’ve had recently with Indiana’s men and women in green.

The job of Indiana State Police troopers is certainly different than that of an Indiana Conservation Officer, Excise Officer or Gaming Agent but they all uphold the same laws, work for the same governor, face the same dangers and, to our mind, should make the same amount of money.

Please contact your state senators- quickly- and ask that they amend HB1001 so that all of Indiana’s state-level police officers make equal pay for the equally complex, dangerous and ultimately unappreciated jobs they do.