SALINA, KANSAS — The Kansas State Troopers Association awarded Senator J.R. Claeys (R-Salina) their Policy Maker of the Year Award for 2024 this week in Salina.

“Senator Claeys is a true champion when it comes to supporting law enforcement,” said Kansas State Trooper Association president Bryan Clark. “He has been pivotal in the process to recruit and retain troopers, and capital police officers.”

Claeys added to the budget a career incentive that increased the overall pay for Kansas Highway Patrol troopers and Kansas Bureau of Investigation agents to address low salaries after 15 to 20 years of service. He also accelerated the timeline to achieve the highest rank and pay in the career progression plan.

“While we have become competitive at the start of a career as a trooper or agent, the salary toward the end of a career in law enforcement was not competitive and takes longer to achieve with the state,” said Claeys. “Now choosing a career in law enforcement will include competitive pay throughout the career progression.”

Claeys also added to the budget new training facilities for the Kansas Highway Patrol, including a new indoor firing range. He included a new site and funding for a new central dispatch center for the state that will also be built in Salina.

“Our plan for the future of training and communications for the Kansas Highway Patrol gives law enforcement the tools and training they need to do the job,” said Claeys. “And, importantly, this plan keeps these facilities in Salina for decades to come.”

Claeys also led the fight to replace the aging state law enforcement aircraft fleet, investing in Kansas-made aircraft as well as new helicopters to perform search and rescue operations.

“Senator Claeys was key to adding valuable aircraft assets that serve the entire state of Kansas,” said Clark. “Kansas is a safer place because of Senator Claeys’ actions.”