Mississippi in desperate need of more state troopers - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mississippi in desperate need of more state troopers

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BATESVILLE, MS -

(WMC-TV) - The need for more troopers to patrol Mississippi interstates is a great one. Right now, the Mississippi Highway Patrol has one state trooper covering three counties.

Lawmakers will have to find money in the budget to hire more help. Mississippi residents say public safety is one area where pennies should not be pinched.

With thousands of drivers traveling North Mississippi interstates, there are fewer state troopers to make sure everyone stays safe.

The troop in Batesville is down to 19 patrolmen covering 10 counties.

"We won't have more than one trooper in the area, and when I say in the area, he could be covering Tunica, DeSoto, and Marshall by himself," said Joey Miller, Public Affairs MHP Troop E.

There are more than 200,000 people in those three counties.

Beth Rogers knows how critical response times can be after her friend was involved in a crash on Interstate 55.

"The only reason he's alive is because a highway patrolman happened to be coming by," she said.

There are about 220 troopers in Mississippi, but Trooper Joey Miller believes the number is only half what it should be.

Governor Phil Bryant is asking lawmakers to find money in the budget for more patrolmen and training.

"He's pro law enforcement, he knows the needs of law enforcement," said Miller.

At first, Robert Klages felt there were plenty of patrolmen in the area.

"It sounds a little short, but I do think we have adequate police coverage here in the state," he said.

But when Klages found out it took more than an hour for a trooper to respond to a deadly accident on Highway 302 in December, he quickly changed his mind.

Miller says local sheriff and police departments have helped fill in the gaps.

Rogers says that is proof we need more help on the highways.

"Even though they have been known to give me tickets from time to time, I don't hold that against them," said Rogers. "And we absolutely have to have the highway patrol to keep us safe."

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