Letters: Where have all the troopers gone?
Where have all the troopers gone? Ever wonder why, in all your area travels, you seldom notice a Minnesota State Patrol Trooper on the highways? Essentially, Legislators have not allowed the Minnesota State Patrol to expand and grow as the popula...
Where have all
the troopers gone?
Ever wonder why, in all your area travels, you seldom notice a Minnesota State Patrol Trooper on the highways?
Essentially, Legislators have not allowed the Minnesota State Patrol to expand and grow as the population in Minnesota has grown.
The amount of licensed drivers and registered vehicles within our state has grown by "leaps and bounds" over the past years, while the safety of traveling motorists has become increasingly reduced during that same time frame by the inability of the state patrol to gain personnel accordingly.
The present compliment of personnel is in the area of 550 - which includes the truck enforcement division, flight division, legislative security and governors security personnel, district investigators, training division and administration.
Many of these special assignments have been dictated by legislative action, yet the voids for patrol and enforcement on our highways were not filled.
I noticed the State Patrol's bi-annual budget does not even allow for a recruit training class during the upcoming year - and it takes nearly one year from recruitment to having an officer on the highways - all the while, retirements are occurring within the ranks.
With over 12,000 miles of state highways, after deducting the specialty assignments, there would be, I would guess less than 400 troopers to actually patrol state highways.
If one divides these 400 troopers into the 12,000 miles of highway, and then considers the number of shifts needed to patrol, it is no wonder one seldom notices a state trooper on our highways - especially in rural areas.
The patrolling troopers do much more than simply "write tickets" - just ask those who have been stranded on a rural highway or have been assisted in times of emergencies.
In 1970, the Minnesota State Patrol had, by legislative allotment, 504 personnel. It took 12 years to gain approval of an additional seven employees!
Let's hope, during this upcoming legislative session increased concerns are shown since, as I recall, the ratio of state patrol troopers to numbers of licensed drivers/registered vehicles in Minnesota is 48th lowest within our 50 states!
Maj. Ron Bolin, MSP (retired), Zimmerman