On Tuesday the Alabama State Trooper Association (ASTA) called for an increase of funding from Gov. Kay Ivey and state legislators for state troopers to combat the dangerous shortage of staffing at the state level of the agency.
ASTA President David Steward said despite the growth of the economy and the stability of the General Fund budget, troopers are still woefully understaffed and underfunded.
“There are less than 250 Troopers to serve all of Alabama, even though recent studies suggest that over 1,000 Troopers is the appropriate number for a state the size of Alabama,” Steward said. “At current staffing levels, there is one state Trooper for every 214 square miles in Alabama.”
According to ASTA, Trooper presence is the single largest deterrent of accidents on Alabama’s highways. Despite this, budget cuts have lead to a 22 percent drop in Trooper staffing since 2014. During that time, auto injuries have risen by 19 percent and auto fatalities are up a whopping 28 percent.
“Seconds count in an accident and troopers are having to cover hundreds of miles,” Steward added. “Often one trooper is handling multiple counties.”
This is not the first time state legislators have been called on to provide for more funding for State Troopers. In January 2017, former Alabama Law Enforcement Secretary (ALEA) Stan Stabler requested a $60 million General Fund budget increase. The extra funding would have included $14.3 million of which would be appointed to the ALEA for the cost of hiring and equipping 100 new state troopers for a year.
ASTA’s request may soon be answered.
Ivey requested a $3.2 million increase in Alabama’s General Fund to be allocated to the ALEA to be used for a new class of 30 state troopers.
“It’s a start,” said ASTA Executive Director Neil Tew. “30 is something to build on. We’re hoping it will be more the following year.