KIMT News 3 – Like many professions, such as nursing or manufacturing jobs, the Iowa State Patrol is suffering from a shortage of troopers due to an aging population.
“A major part of our workforce is going to be retiring because they’re part of the baby boomer population.” says Trooper Keith Duenow.
When it comes to hiring new troopers to take the retiring officers’ jobs, it falls on the lap of the legislature.
“We are completely based off of state revenue. Our union asks them to put money in the budget to hire new officers, but you know they have a lot of fiscal responsibilities that they have to look at,” he says.
Training and hiring a new trooper costs around $170,000. Duenow says they have an academy scheduled for this spring and hope to hire 30 new members, but with a tight budget planned for this year it is going to come down to the priority of the legislative body.
“We know they’re going to have less dollars to work with this next session,” says State Rep. Josh Brynes. “Revenues came in shorter than they anticipated. Gov. Branstad already outlined some the things that he wants to protect; he’s talking about protecting school funding, he’s talking about health care funding.”
“We gave money specifically to hire more staff patrol a few years ago,” says State Sen. Amanda Ragan. “We understand the problem and it is important, but when you have a tight budget, you have to balance all those things.”
Until the Iowa State Patrol receives the funds they need, the public may be the ones suffering with slower response times or less help on a scene of an accident.
“We are having to utilize more of county and city resources on crash scenes that we were able to handle by ourselves,” Duenow says. “If we could get sufficient funding for an academy of 30 for the next couple of years, that would solve all of our problems.”