Unifying Alabama's Traffic Safety Efforts
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Enforcement Studies
ALEA Trooper Staffing Level Critically Low

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.
This article is from al.com. You can find it here
Results Mixed for Red-Light Cameras in Four States
Click Here to read the Mixed Results about Red-Light Cameras in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Louisiana.

Click Here to read The Seattle Times Article on Traffic Deaths Up in Cities that Turn Off Red-Light Cameras

                       

Chance of Fatal Crash by Speed
                                        
Traffic Safety Effectiveness of Additional State Troopers
On average, these are conservative estimates in that they are based on only the reduction of crashes during short term increases in the trooper patrol force. It does not take into account the cumulative effect of adding troopers over a longer time period, nor does it take into effect the reduced severity of crashes where officers’ presence serves to deter excessive speed, and enables them to be available to arrive at the scene, administer first aid and otherwise mitigate the consequences of the crash.

It is known that every ten miles per hour reduction in impact speed cuts the probability of a crash being fatal in half. Thus, the expected presence of an officer can have much more of an effect on fatalities than overall crashes. The estimates above were based on total crashes with their normally expected severities.

The following display presents the data used in this study in graphical form. The blue line indicates the number of officers on patrol for a given week. The red line indicates the number of crashes that occurred during that week. Generally it can be seen that when there is a spike up on the number of officers there will be a spike down in the number of crashes, and vice versa.

Reduction in Crashes during Increased Patrol Periods


The Alabama Department of Public Safety as well as other local law enforcement agencies are facing severe budget restrictions in the coming years. There can be little doubt that this will negatively impact the safety of Alabama roadways.

For full report, click here.