WSP Trooper Chris Thorson
WSP Trooper Chris Thorson

Washington State Patrol is accepting lateral hires for the first time in the agency's history.

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“We need more great people to join our agency who’ll help us continue to meet the needs of Washingtonians, that they’ve long enjoyed and expect from us,” said WSP Chief John R. Batiste.

According to a press release, the WSP has been budgeted to hold two lateral classes over the next biennium. Currently, among commissioned officers, WSP has over 250 openings between vacancies and expected retirements.

“When we looked at our staffing levels across the agency, we determined our typical trooper basic classes weren’t enough,” said WSP Assistant Chief Shannon Bendiksen. “This was one of the ideas that came forward … and we certainly want to try something new to try to supplement our staffing levels in the field.”

What is a lateral hire?

A lateral hire is an applicant currently certified as a law enforcement officer. A lateral hire has already completed a training academy, so training for WSP would be a shorter training process. The exact duration of training will depend on the applicant's credentials and experience. Out-of-state hires will be required an additional two-week academy dedicated to Washington State law. WSP hopes to have at least 40 lateral hires by March 2024.

In another first-time for the WSP, the agency is now also offering hiring incentives to new commissioned applicants. Trooper cadets can now receive up to $10,000 in hiring bonuses, while laterals can receive up to $20,000.

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