Indiana State Police call it a crisis.

Fewer people are signing up to be recruits because the pay is so low, but lawmakers are hoping to fix the problem.

ISP says it can't compete with other departments, but a long-overdue raise could come later this year. 

"We're losing so many good troopers to better paying departments," Sgt. Philip Hensley said. "And you can't blame them."

More troopers keep leaving.

"Literally, it's by the dozens," Hensley said.

And most of them cite the same reason.

"Bottom line, the ultimate reason is pay," he said.

The difference is thousands of dollars. Indiana State Troopers, who start at $40,902 and cap out at $61,208, make less than surrounding state police departments. 

For example, Illinois State Troopers' starting salary is $60,036, and the maximum salary is $114,528.

Other local departments start officers at a higher salary than ISP. Floyd County's deputies start at $47,652.

Officers with Indianapolis Metro Police Department can make significantly more money.

"A third-year police officer in Indianapolis makes more than a trooper who's been on the road for 35 years," Hensley said. "We can't have that. We can't stay competitive that way."

It's growing problem, but state officials are finally taking note. 

"We're going to give a well-deserved pay raise to the Indiana State Police," Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced during his first State of the State address last week. 

Hensley said recruitment numbers are also down by several hundred applicants. 

"We only want the best," Gov. Holcomb said. "We don't want somebody who says, 'I applied for department A, B, C, D, and E, and the Indiana State Police finally hired me.'"

The state's budget will be finalized in April. If approved, trooper pay raises could take effect this summer. 

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