Georgia State Patrol needs 358 troopers, holding recruitment fair

Georgia State Patrol needs 358 troopers

Delayed response times and not enough boots on the ground are reasons Georgia State Patrol wants to add more than 350 troopers.

Corporal Michael Burns out of the Forsyth post has been working for GSP for 9 years. 

"People think that all we do is write tickets, and work wrecks, and there's nothing more to it," says Burns. 

In recent years, he's noticed a decrease in the number of troopers assigned to posts across the state.

"It's definitely a problem," says Burns. 

Burns says that GSP is authorized to have 953 troopers across the state of Georgia. They currently have almost 600, which means they're more than 350 troopers short of quota.

"It puts a strain on the post. As short staffed as we are, there are nights when you're by yourself and the only person you have to rely on is yourself," says Burns. 

Burns explained that at some posts, like the one in Waycross, Georgia, there are only 9 troopers total assigned to cover 6 entire counties.

By the time you divide everyone into shifts, there may only be 3 troopers working in a single day.

"There are some days we have one trooper in the morning, one working a split shift, and one working at night, so you'll have one trooper responsible for everything that occurs," says Burns. 

And Burns says that's not easy. 

"When you have one trooper covering such a large area, one guy can only do as much as he can do," says Burns.

He explained that this can lead to longer response times to car wrecks or highway emergencies, but what's causing the shortage of troopers? 

"Our trooper school is 33 weeks long," says Burns. "The job is very intense. Plus, we did go almost 10 years without a raise," until last year when Governor Nathan Deal increased pay for certified law enforcement agents across the state by 20 percent.

This took GSP troopers' salaries from $38,000 to $46,000 a year. That's according to georgia.gov. 

"It's worth it in the end," says Burns. 

Burns says that although the job is tough, it's rewarding, and a service to Georgia citizens. 

If you are interested in becoming a Georgia State Trooper, GSP is holding a recruiting fair at their Dublin post Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

© 2017 WMAZ-TV


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