Even though Iowa has more highways than it did during the 1960's, Iowa has the same number of state troopers.
That's why President of the Iowa State Troopers Association Darin Snedden is urging Iowa lawmakers to give them more funding.
Currently Iowa has 363 troopers, which is 87 people short of what is recommended to properly cover Iowa's roads.
"We are working at a staff level that mirrors the mid-1960's; obviously since the 1960's, our roadways have increased, our amount of traffic and amount of cars registered in the state and drivers has increased… so we are very aware of the extra work load we have," Snedden said.
But this staff shortage hasn't always been like this.
"In the year 2000, unfortunately our state did suffer some tough times in the early 200's and there were troops that through attrition left the patrol in retirements and for whatever reason… maybe we would lose a trooper and we were unable to replace those troopers that we lost at the same rate that we lost them."
Now Snedden is asking for 29 new troopers for the next three years.
To train and equip a new trooper costs $148,775 per trooper, but it costs less after the initial expensive. After the first year, the patrol is paying about $100,000 per trooper; in other words, after the initial expenses, this long-term commitment would add $8.7 million onto the Iowa State Patrol budget each year.
But in the meantime, Snedden says that public safety is in jeopardy.
"If there is a call such as an accident, the trooper is responding and we are doing our very best to get there as fast as we can, but with fewer people there's a possibility that our response time is slowed, just for the fact that we are a longer distance away," Snedden said.
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