Florida’s highways could be more dangerous than ever as officials scramble for a solution to the current shortage of state troopers.
If you're on the roadways in Florida, you may want drive more defensively. Florida is experiencing short of state troopers available to respond to accidents and other emergencies.
Statewide, Florida is almost 200 officers short. In the 10 county areas, which include Jackson, Bay, Washington and Okaloosa counties, they are short by nine.
Officials say, “Last year, the highway patrol issued over 1.2 million citations and arrested over 10, 814 drivers for DUI. So, even though we're experiencing the problems that we are, we're continuing to try to deliver the service to the public that they deserve.”
One reason for the shortfall is that rookies are making $33,000 a year. That’s almost as much as some veteran officers. As a result, those veterans are leaving for higher paying jobs.
Another reason: low pay raises. Troopers didn't see an increase last year.
Also, it's tough to recruit qualified candidates. Most applicants don't meet the qualifications to attend the training academy.
State troopers in the 10 county areas say that they feel they can handle the current number of incidents on the roadway by working overtime and with help from volunteer staff. However, they're hoping the legislature will pass pay increases to help stop the attrition.
“It's a top priority of the Highway Patrol to work in conjunction with the legislature and bargaining groups to try to determine a funding source so we can solve the compression pay problems we have,” officials concluded.
If the legislature doesn't come up with a solution soon, it could be much more difficult for the patrol to keep Florida’s highways safe.
The Florida Highway Patrol is currently looking for qualified candidates.
For a list of qualifications and more information on the training academy, you can log on to their website, by CLICKING on the link below.