10/30/2014

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WSP is down 84 troopers across our state

WSP is down 84 troopers across our state
YAKIMA, Wash. -- When emergencies happen we'd like to think law enforcement will come to our aid as quickly as possible.

KIMA has learned that due to a shortage of WSP troopers that may not be the case.

"There's not enough troopers right now to respond to every 911 call," said Trooper Chris Thorson.

It's a scary thought, but the unfortunate truth for people across the state.

WSP is currently down 84 troopers statewide, and 10 here in our district, which spans from Yakima to Walla Walla.

"So that's 10 troopers that you take out of the equation that are missing and that's troopers that could be going after potential DUI drivers, that's officer safety issues, that's responding to injury collisions," said Thorson.

Trooper Thorson told me WSP's only able to hire about 3 to 4 troopers out of every 100 candidates.

Many don't make the cut due to either the physical fitness test, written exam, oral board, or lie detector test, as anyone with a criminal or drug history is turned away, which is more common than you might think

"I don't want to say society has necessarily changed, but a lot more things have become more acceptable in society like drug use and prescription pills, and alcohol and marijuana, so I think that has some role in it," said Thorson.

Because of the shortage there's as few as 1 or 2 troopers per shift.

There should ideally be 3 or 4.

This becomes a problem for officer safety, when troopers work by themselves and back up is far away.

As well as public safety when there's just not enough troopers to respond to every call.

Last year WSP's chief took action to address this problem by increasing the number of recruiters from 2 to 8.

They're making an effort to get out more around the community, and they're talking with people as young as in high school.

So in the future, no emergency call will go unanswered.

The next trooper testing is on December 7th in the Tri-Cities.

The next class starts in January and there's still about 30 more spots to fill.

WSP told Action News those interested could work locally without having to move their families.

You can look online to apply at wsp.wa.gov
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