HANOVER TWP., Pa. - Hundreds of Pennsylvania State Police troopers are expected to retire this year, leaving a big gap to fill.
"It's my 24th year, and I know my class of 150 can retire," said Troop M Master Trooper Marc Allen.
He said fewer cadets signing up for the police academy to become troopers is adding to the problem.
"A period of three to four years where no classes went through. Our state police academy takes seven months, so to get someone in and vetted and to pass the process takes close to a year," he said.
Allen said recent changes were made to boost recruitment, like state police eliminating a requirement that all recruits pass a lie detector test. Anyone in the military can be eligible for waivers where they must complete 30 college credits instead of 60.
He said there are also other waivers that keep changing to accommodate the department's needs.
Allen said the changing culture surrounding law enforcement has also influenced the drop in cadets.
"There was a time when everyone wanted to be a police officer, and now you have to break through some of the visible boundaries the community has about police officers," said Allen.
He said marketing, like radio ads, has helped bring in quality troopers.
"Our kids go to school with their kids. We are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, and we are out in the community with them, and I think a lot of people see a uniform and believe that they're different and the reality of it is we are just the same," explained Allen.
Allen said whether it's local police departments or state police more law enforcement is needed.
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