Pa. State Police troopers stretched like rubberband
February 20, 2013By Mary Wilson
The pinch on the Pennsylvania State Police isn't letting up any time soon, in spite of the governor's plan to put another 380 troopers on patrol.
Imagine owning a company that could have 4,689 employees and being stuck with almost 500 vacancies.
That's the reality for the department, which is seeing the demands on its troopers rising as local governments nix their police departments and opt for state police coverage instead.
Commissioner Frank Noonan says 12 municipalities disbanded their police forces last year, and ten others scaled back their coverage hours.
"As municipalities see this as a way to cut costs, and everybody's looking to cut costs, it's like stretching a rubber band, and the State Police gets stretched," he said.
Noonan says he's looking for a solution, but he's not endorsing a policy of charging municipalities a fee for relying solely on state police.
The governor has proposed funding the training of 290 new cadets, and freeing up another 90 troopers. But the department faces the prospect of more than 1,000 troopers being eligible to retire this summer, introducing another element of uncertainty into how the agency deploys its force.