MHP celebrates 75th year - - The News for South Mississippi

MHP celebrates 75th year

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

For retired trooper Franklin Brewer who first wore the MHP uniform in 1968, the highway patrol has come a long way, but some parts of the job never change.

"They do a great job. You can depend on them," said Brewer. "They're out there everyday risking their lives and I'm glad to have been a part of it."

MHP was created in April of 1938. Since then, entering its 75th year, Commissioner Albert Santa Cruz says there's a high standard that must continue to be met.

"Without public safety, very little else is important," said Santa Cruz.

With a mission of safety, there are some concerns. Santa Cruz says the highway patrol is currently short 125 troopers. More than a hundred current troopers are eligible to retire. That's on top of a need for more patrol cars. Even with all that, he says the department is in good shape.

"We're going to make it. We're going to keep the citizens of Mississippi safe. We're going to find a way to do it. We always have," said Santa Cruz.

"We must give you the resources necessary to do your job. As governor I'm going to make sure that voice is heard in the Mississippi Legislature," said Governor Phil Bryant.

As a former officer himself, Governor Bryant is pledging his political support. Bryant says he wants a new building for the department to be put next to a new crime lab in Rankin county. Bryant is also going to ask the legislature for a new trooper school next year.

"If we don't put troopers on the road, people will die. This is not a budget reduction that will simply be just inconvenient," said Bryant.

It's that type of commitment from not only politicians but troopers themselves, that leave people like Brewer and his father who was also a trooper, believing in what it means to wear a badge.

"There's no greater or better as far as I can see today as the Mississippi Highway Patrol," said Brewer.

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