After years of struggling with numbers, Alabama will soon have more state troopers on the road. The State Trooper Association has just been approved to increase pay for new recruits.
After the new year, you can expect to have about 120 more state troopers and a handful of the new recruits may wind up in the Wiregrass.
Society's pay structure has become more and more competitive throughout the years, but entry-level pay for state troopers has stayed the same.
"Over the last several years, we had a freeze. All state employees had a freeze and that was really detrimental to our efforts, as far as recruiting efforts happen," said Cpl. Tracy Nelson, AL State Troopers Association.
When you combine the decrease in recruits with the troopers who are retiring, it has led to dramatically shrinking manpower which causes major patrol problems.
Governor Bob Riley helped push the state legislature to approve the pay raises.
"Whenever you're trying to recruit and get the best-qualified applicants, people tend to be lured away simply for the money aspect. So we had to do something," said Cpl. Nelson.
The effort could now move Alabama from tenth to among the top five in the southern United States for entry-level salaries.
Troopers at the Dothan post are hoping for four new recruits. But where the recruits go depends on where they're needed most. They could be needed more in areas that have more construction zones or higher accident rates.
Altogether, the state has 671 arresting officers; more than 300 of them are troopers on patrol.
The pay increase will go into effect June 1. And the State Department Of Public Safety hopes to have all the positions filled by mid-January.
Those interested can apply through the state. Recruits must take a physical agility test and undergo a background check. There is a 22-week intensive training class that is required before going out on patrol.