Governor Phil Bryant has signed into law, a bill the would appropriate $6.9 million the Mississippi Highway Patrol for a new trooper school. He says the funding is critical to keeping Mississippians safe.
"I said it time and time again, without the proper number of troopers on the road, people would die." said Bryant. "All appropriation bills are important, but very few will have the effect of actually saving lives. This one will do so."
While the measure received nearly unanimous support in the Legislature, some lawmakers initially questioned whether to provide the funding for the school. Citing concerns about how the department has previously spent money. DPS Commissioner Albert Santa Cruz says the need for additional troopers outweighs those concerns.
"Fatalities are actually on the increase, and it's troopers not being seen." said Santa Cruz. "It's like the halo effect. Person sees a patrol car out there, they automatically slow down. All we've been doing is working wrecks. We don't have the people to do enforcement."
Santa Cruz says he hopes to have the school operational by November, and new troopers on the road by May 2015.