The Mississippi Highway Patrol is making plans to train its next cadet class in a newly, fully-funded trooper school. As MPB's Mark Rigsby reports, the state is currently facing a trooper shortage.
The highway patrol is looking for a few good men and women to strengthen its force. Captain Johnny Poulos says the new trooper school will help fill a critical need.
"We're in a situation where we are in a dire need for troopers on the roadway. There are several districts across the state that are very understaffed. This plays a big role in being stretched thin. There are troopers that are working two or three counties by themselves."
State lawmakers gave bi-partisan support authorizing the Department of Public Safety to spend $7.3 million on the Highway Patrol Trooper School. Democratic Representative Kathy Sykes, of Jackson, at the time expressed her support.
"We do need more troopers. It's a hazard, not only for the troopers to be understaffed, but it's also a hazard for the citizens of this state who travel our highways."
The state allows Mississippi Highway Patrol to have 650 sworn troopers. There are only 475 troopers patroling 11,000 miles of state roadways. 150 of them could retire tomorrow. Highway patrol is accepting applications for its next cadet class from now until the end of May.