Alabama State Troopers say they're facing a manpower shortage. In a press release headlined "staffing at critical levels," the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) laid out some numbers that indicate there are less than half the recommended troopers on the roads.
"I am proud of our Alabama State Troopers. They diligently patrol all roadways in Alabama – state, federal, and county," said Secretary of Law Enforcement Spencer Collier. "But we are operating at 42 percent of recommended staffing, according to a recent study by the University of Alabama's Center for Advanced Public Safety (CAPS), with only 418 state troopers to cover Alabama roadways which is also substantially less than surrounding and similar size states."
ALEA reports that CAPS concluded that Alabama should have a minimum of 1,016 troopers, including field supervisors, assigned to patrol the state roadways. CAPS is independent of ALEA.
ALEA spokesman Sgt. Steve Jarrett said Perry County currently doesn't have any assigned troopers. Counties that have only one assigned trooper include Greene, Sumter, Choctow, Wilcox, Lowndes and Bullock. Fayette, Cleburne, Clay, Randolph, Macon, Hale, Clarke, Washington, Monroe and Conecuh counties have two assigned troopers each, Jarrett said.
ALEA reports that the manpower shortage has required off-duty troopers to be called in 3,816 times during the first six months of 2015. This was to work on the reported 15,198 crashes statewide.
"With 874 more state trooper-investigated crashes and 582 more injuries on Alabama roadways during the first six months of 2015, our state troopers are spending the majority of their time reacting, opposed to proactively patrolling, resulting in more accidents and more injuries," Collier said.
"During the regular and first special legislative sessions of 2015, legislators proposed cuts to state law enforcement that would be devastating to our already critically low staffing levels. Our agency simply cannot take another cut. We ask that the citizens of Alabama contact their legislators and voice their opposition to further cuts that could result in the loss of more Alabama State Troopers," he said.
The reported findings for other states in the CAPS study is as follows. Listed troopers patrol all state roadways unless otherwise noted.
- Florida Highway Patrol has 1,800 troopers.
- Georgia Department of Public Safety's State Patrol has 629 troopers.
- Louisiana State Police has 543 state troopers.
- Maryland State Police has 656 troopers who only patrol state highways, not county roadways.
- Mississippi Department of Public Safety's Highway Safety Patrol has 375, but they only patrols state and federal highways, not county roadways.
- South Carolina Department of Public Safety's Highway Patrol has 658 troopers.
- Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security's Highway Patrol has 610 troopers.
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