State troopers plea for legislature's help - - The News for South Mississippi

State troopers plea for legislature's help

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

State troopers say more money could equal safer roads in Mississippi. About 300 of the 500 sworn officers are on the roads. But there are 120 eligible for retirement.

Around 200 state troopers stood shoulder to shoulder Wednesday, taking the day off to join in the plea for help from the legislature.

"They told us, you know, there's times we would be short handed and have to work one or two counties by ourself but not every shift," explained Trooper Cindy Searcy.

Searcy is a graduate of the last trooper class in the state. In two years, she's seen problems with shortages first hand.

"One instance I was working in Aberdeen I got in a foot chase with one," described Searcy. "I called for backup and the closest back up was coming from the Lowndes-Noxubee line. So it took him a good 50 minutes to get there."

It's a problem shared by troopers in every corner of the state.

"Manpower pays dividends by helping us to be safe," said Master Sgt. Jimmie Thomas. "It pays dividends by helping us to keep the citizens of the state of Mississippi safe."

Governor Bryant included $6.9 million for a new trooper school in his executive budget recommendation.

"We will not abandon them when they need us most," said Governor Phil Bryant. "As God as my witness, help is on the way."

Bryant was joined by Speaker Philip Gunn and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

"This is not a matter of if we are comfortable," explained Bryant. "People will die if we don't have enough law enforcement on the road."

The issue is expected to go to a conference committee before the end of the session. That's where they can work out details of appropriations.

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