FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky State Police's forensic lab analysts are some of the lowest-paid in the country.
People in similar jobs in nearby states make as much as $24,000 more dollars a year than forensic analysts in Kentucky. (WKYT)
State Senator Whitney Westerfield, R-Crofton, found that information out during a subcommittee meeting in Frankfort.
"We're the lowest in the country. No one pays their lab analysts lower than we do. It's a starting salary of $32,000," said Westerfield.
For reference, forensic chemists in Ohio start out making $56,472 a year. West Virginia and Tennessee offer similar starting salaries of around $45,000.
"We just need to find the money. That's truly the bottom line," Westerfield said.
Westerfield is concerned analysts won't want to work in Kentucky.
That's already a trend. In 2017 KSP had 38 analysts, and they have 29 as of October.
The caseloads for the analysists have also increased. Workers have a total of about a thousand more cases, both new and rollovers, from 2018 compared to 2017.
For the analysts who do stay in Kentucky, Westerfield says their value can't be measured. They give policy support and knowledge for Kentucky's public safety.
"It shows their dedication. They're willing to forego bigger salaries," said Westerfield. "The ones that can afford to do that are doing that for the benefit of public service and for the people of Kentucky."