Many of Pennsylvania’s state police officers are coming close to retirement age, meaning the department could be facing a serious manpower shortage unless the state finds money to train and hire more troopers.
Anticipated retirements could reduce the number of troopers to 3,924 in 2015, or 75 fewer than the department’s authorized 4,689 troopers, reports the Harrisburg Patriot-News
. The police force could shrink even more through 2018, as hundreds more troopers who were hired in the early 1990s become eligible for retirement.
“We need to have a better plan, and we need to lay out what we’re going to do over the next couple years,” Joseph Kovel, president of the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, told a joint gathering of the Senate Law and Justice and the House Judiciary committees.
The committees’ chairmen, Republican State Sen. John Pippy and Rep. Ron Marsico, said they would form a subcommittee to investigate the looming manpower issue and to work on possible funding sources for cadet classes to fill the vacancies.
State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan told the committee his department is working on putting more troopers on the road, but spending that money could mean some barracks could be closed or consolidated.
Kovel, meanwhile, told lawmakers the department needs funding to send 350 cadets through the academy next year.
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