Jul 1, 2013 6:10 PM by Chris Welty
They've tightened their belts, but for the first time in five years, more funding is on the radar for State Troopers.
Today is the start of the new fiscal year for the state and State Police are starting the year off on a high note. The department is getting a five million dollar boost spread out over the next four years. This all thanks to ACT 399, which was signed into law by Governor Jindal.
The five million dollars will be used for State Police training. The department has not hired new troopers since 2008.
Everyday, about 900 troopers hit the road compared to nearly 11-hundred five years ago. Troopers say they've been stretched to the limit.
"It's about working smarter with the number of people we have," said Trooper Stephen Hammons of Troop I.
The force has been creative to make sure vacant spots are covered. Troopers and supervisors who were in administrative rolls are now back on the street. Though they haven't been able to hire new troopers, the force is bringing retired employees back for administrative jobs.
"When the retired person comes back, we're not having to pay certain benefits and things that are required if a trooper is in there," said Hammons.
With the increase in funding, the department is hoping to hire as many as fifty new troopers.
"Numbers of employees may have changed, but our ability to effectively assist the public and provide permanent services to them has not been hindered," said Hammons.
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