Shortage of Alabama State Troopers a "critical" issue
The shortage of Alabama State Troopers is a critical ongoing issue.
A recent study showed that Alabama needs at least 1000 troopers to man state highways. State Trooper Roy Napp says there are currently less than 300.
“Each trooper if you looked at it in terms of registered vehicles in the state of Alabama, each trooper is responsible for the regulation of over 20,000 registered vehicles in the state of Alabama. Each trooper,” said Sergeant Napp.
Alabama legislatures in 2017 awarded the Agency 3.3 million to hire a class of 30 troopers. It’s a trend in the right direction but officers say they still need more manpower.
Sergeant Napp compared the sharp difference in numbers of one county to one northern state of the same size.
“Rhode Island and Mobile County in Alabama are approximately the same size. Rhode Island has about 200 troopers, and Mobile County in Alabama has 12,” said Sergeant Napp.
Locally, Choctaw County only has 1.
“We can’t go a single year without hiring troopers,” said Sergeant Napp.
But Sergeant Napp says the shortage of numbers could be linked to a larger problem.
“We have decades of statistics that we could look at but if we just look at the numbers from 2014 until now, our trooper numbers have declined by 22-percent and our traffic fatalities have gone up by 28-percent,” said Sergeant Napp.
Numbers that both troopers and locals agree with.
“But we polled people who vote in the state of Alabama and 75-percent said that fewer trooper numbers have led to unsafe roadways,” said Sergeant Napp.
Sergeant Napp says that numbers are low due to resignation, retirement or transfers. He hopes the State will hear the concerns and continue their efforts to help bump their numbers.
Gov. Kay Ivey has requested a $3.2 million increase in the general fund appropriation for the Alabama Law Enforcement agency, which would be a 6.6 percent increase according to AL.com.