The number of Pennsylvania state police troopers continues to decline and will soon reach a dangerously low level, spurred by increased retirements and the state’s failure to pay for training more new police cadets, reports the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. That was the conclusion of both state police management and its troopers union, expressed to joint Senate and House judiciary committee members Wednesday. “If we do not proactively address our reduced ranks now,” said Pennsylvania State Troopers Association President Joseph Kovel, “it will reach a point of financial impossibility to do so, and we will all pay a terrible price for that lack of foresight. Pennsylvania, without question, is on the verge of a public safety crisis.”
He said 350 new troopers should be added over the next year, but that is something everyone agreed won’t happen because it would cost too much. But state police Commissioner Frank Noonan did agree that action is needed quickly to boost the ranks, which “continue to shrink.” He said retirements from the state police ranks are increasing — 180 announced so far this year, with more than 220 likely by June 30, compared to an average year of 150. That leaves the ranks at 4,282 officers now, compared to the 4,677 that are authorized.