Highway Patrol using incentives to attract new troopers to the job

Troopers say their numbers are down roughly 12 percent.
Keeping the roadways secure means having enough manpower to patrol them.
Published: Jun. 8, 2022 at 5:21 PM EDT
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NEWTON, N.C. (WBTV) - Keeping the roadways secure means having enough manpower to patrol them.

Sufficient manpower becomes a major shortfall, though, when it comes to new troopers need to be hired.

The need to hire new troopers could lead to longer response times for emergencies.

The North Carolina State Highway Patrol (NCSHP) is down roughly 200 positions, so a massive effort is underway to try to bolster those numbers.

Troopers say their numbers are down roughly 12 percent. Patrols are having to be shifted to other areas to make sure the counties are covered. And there’s no sign it’s going to get better anytime soon.

Being on the business end of the blue lights is always a sickening feeling. Fines, points and headaches are the price many pay when they bend the rules of the road.

The folks behind the badge don’t do this for glory or to give you a ticket, they do it because they want to keep people safe.

Joshua Bailey has been serving for five years, and he’s seen just about everything you can think of. The good and the bad.

“No one wants to tell a family member you know that their father, daughter or son ain’t coming home,” Bailey said.

But no matter how vital the job is, troopers have their backs up against the wall.

“We’ve got 189 positions open,” Aaron Milsaps said. “All departments are struggling recruiting people.”

Milsaps is in charge of recruiting in the area. He’s been crunching the numbers, and they don’t look good.

In an official document from NCSHP, the problem is revealed. At full strength, they are allotted 1,778 troopers, but they are almost 200 officers short of that, and the last recruitment class only graduated 16 troopers, just over the break-even mark.

“We lost 12 due to retirement and resignations,” Milsaps said. “It affects our response times to wreck calls and to efficiently clear roadways.”

To counter the demand, command is incentivizing potential new employees. Base pay has increased to over $70,000 after a few years of service, and training times for recruits were reduced to get boots on the ground faster.

“It’s a calling, knowing that you can make a difference,” Bailey said of the job.

When about reduced training time, NCSHP said it’s the exact same training, just a little bit faster.

Related: Chester Police Department facing massive officer shortages

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