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  • Fewer state troopers are patrolling the road

    Fewer state troopers are patrolling the road
    Agency is down 200 officers, can't afford to hire many more, chief of State Police says.

    By the numbers

    Indiana State Police in 2004:

    34,787,409
    Miles traveled by State Police

    170,613
    Hours spent on criminal investigations

    1,349
    Hours spent on manhunts

    867
    Hours spent delivering blood or organs

    516
    Hours spent on parade details

    14,797
    Number of car crashes investigated

    5,484
    Arrests made on drug charges

    600
    Number of troopers patrolling the roads

    Source: Indiana State Police


    Money is so tight at the Indiana State Police that the superintendent is making his headquarters staff hit the road, patrolling state highways and interstates.

    Indiana's top law enforcement agency, which does everything from cruising hundreds of miles of interstates to busting methamphetamine labs, is down 200 troopers from the authorized strength of 1,334. By the end of this year, the number of vacancies could climb to 300.

    There may be few, if any, officers to replace them. If they can afford to have a recruiting class this fall, the number of trainees will be cut in half, to about 30. Even if the department can afford to train new officers, it can't afford to give them weapons, uniforms or police cars, according to Superintendent Paul Whitesell.

    Whitesell also said the cost of the vacancies hurts public safety.

    The agency, like many other branches of state government, is faced with a budget crunch and has been asked to trim even more this year.

    Miles traveled by State Police officers are down 14 percent, to less than 34.8 million miles last year from 40.5 million miles in 2001. And hours on traffic patrol are down 18 percent, to 271,324 last year from 332,140 in 2001.

    The number of detectives also has fallen, which means if the trooper who responds to a burglary doesn't investigate, it's likely no one will.

    To save money on overtime, officers are asked to take time off rather than collect the extra pay -- adding to the short staffing.

    Headquarters staff, which includes 284 officers ranging from the staff attorney and lab technicians to detectives and Whitesell himself, also are working the road at least two days a month. The goal, Whitesell said, is not only to save money and put more troopers on the roads but also to remind his headquarters staff what it's like to work in the field.

    "We deal with death and injuries," said Whitesell, 54, a former state trooper tapped in December by Gov. Mitch Daniels to lead the department. "You never know how many lives we save because of our presence. And we don't know how many we don't save because we're not there."

    According to the State Police's own statistics, the number of deaths in vehicle crashes increased to 940 last year, up from 787 the year before and 781 in 2002 -- the same time the number of troopers was declining.

    Making financial matters worse, Daniels has directed all agencies to cut 7 percent of their budgets to help the state's bottom line. The State Police force isn't exempt.

    "We're asking the governor to reconsider," Whitesell said. "We can no longer shuffle things around or move people around. We're at crisis level."

    Daniels said he'll make sure there's enough money for a new recruiting class. "The one place we will never scrimp is life and death areas like the State Police," Daniels said.

    The State Police also have a morale problem, which the superintendent said he confronted by visiting every post, driving a marked police car, responding to officers' e-mails and phone calls, and working alongside them. Troopers, for example, noticed that he worked the raucous night before the Indianapolis 500 -- something superintendents rarely have done.

    Usually, no more than three troopers at a time work the roads from the Pendleton post, covering a district that includes three counties, three prisons, Verizon Wireless Music Center and 34 miles of well-traveled I-69.

    "We're stretched pretty thin," said 1st Sgt. Tim Kaiser, the post commander.

    On a rainy Tuesday last week, Pendleton Post Trooper Dave Poynter, a six-year State Police veteran, spent part of his midday shift driving the 34-mile I-69 stretch, back and forth. Few motorists were speeding, however, so he spent his time checking abandoned vehicles and making sure a stranded motorist was OK.

    "I'd rather be working the interstates," Poynter said.

    But he's often needed elsewhere. At the end of his Tuesday shift, about 8 p.m., he joined nearly a dozen officers from different agencies to execute a search warrant at a house not far from the post. There, officers found marijuana, drug paraphernalia and guns.

    Poynter, like other troopers, also participates in special details such as traffic control at the Indianapolis Air Show.

    And still, Pendleton's bench of troopers is deeper than most.

    "Some districts are really hurting," said Whitesell, who's having his staff calculate which part of the state needs extra help. In some parts, especially rural areas, the State Police are the chief law enforcers.

    Skyrocketing gasoline prices are further taxing the department, which uses 200,000 gallons each month. Whitesell ordered officers last week to cut gas consumption by one-third, which will require more stationary patrols -- staying put on the interstates to watch for traffic violators.

    A memo he wrote last Wednesday to commanders warns that the next step is to rescind off-duty use of police vehicles. Whitesell said he will add five motorcycles, which use less gas, to the department's fleet of 20.

    To save money, the State Police also have done everything from canceling newspaper subscriptions to salvaging old batteries, alternators and other parts from old squad cars. And Whitesell raised health insurance premiums for troopers by $100 a month.

    A more radical but potentially unavoidable cost-cutting move being considered is closing one or more of the 18 State Police posts. On average, it costs $320,000 a year to keep one open, and several are plagued with problems.

    The Terre Haute post is small and needs $15,000 in window repairs. Last year, it caught fire because of faulty wiring.

    The Connersville post has persistent water leaks from the ceiling and in the basement. The State Police spent $165,000 on repairs, but they are expected to last only three years.

    "I'm trying to save them," Whitesell said of the posts.

    State Police posts are visible offices of state government that do more than serve as offices for troopers. The Pendleton post, for example, serves as an exchange point for parents in child custody situations.

    The dispatchers log dozens of calls a day. Last Tuesday, the day after Hurricane Katrina tore through the South, one woman called the Pendleton post wanting to know road conditions in Mississippi. A stranded motorist couldn't get the lug nuts off his flat tire, so dispatcher Alicia Foster gave him the number for a local wrecker service. When the State Police needed to find the family of a man involved in a car accident, dispatcher Donna Decker placed the calls.

    Jason Barclay, special counsel to Daniels, said the state is researching ways to save the posts. One possibility is to combine the law enforcement efforts and offices of the State Police, Department of Natural Resources, the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission and Homeland Security.

    "We're looking at why they all need different dispatchers, different spaces," Barclay said. "But they all have the same mission of making the state safer."
    "Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide."
    John Adams, April 15, 1814

  • #2
    We have about 600 Troopers and investigate around 37,000 crashes a year. We have about half the number of total Troopers.

    I wish we only investigated 14,800.

    We cover 2 1/2 times as many crashes. We sometimes have Troopers covering 45 crashes a month.

    You are very lucky to have the large number of Troopers that you have.

    Be very happy you don't have to investigate crashes on county roads and off road crashes.
    Last edited by USAcop; 09-06-2005, 12:51 PM.

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    • #3
      In July 2004 it was reported that the NY State Police only had 4 troopers on duty for all of Long Island on the average day and that only about a total of 70 troopers were assigned to LI ... NYC has none assigned.

      All I hear from my parents and older relatives is how much safer Long Island's parkways were under the LI State Parkway Commission Police before they were merged into the NY State Police in the 80's.

      Comment


      • #4
        While there might be a few NYSP in LI, Nassua and Suffolk Police dept do the majority of the work down there. They are the Primary policing agency. ( If I am correct)

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Rutty81
          While there might be a few NYSP in LI, Nassua and Suffolk Police dept do the majority of the work down there. They are the Primary policing agency. ( If I am correct)
          yes you are, plenty enough nassau and sufflok police to patrol LI... and NYC doesn't need the state police for law enforcement needs NYC has a NYPD of 30,000 plus men.

          And there are 3 state troopers assigned to troop NYC. 1 recruiter and 2 troopers doing communication and dispatch. When the terror alert raises the state police is present with the TBTA on bridges and tunnels around the city.

          the NY State Police is 4,700 man strong. NY can afford that many troopers and is actually planning another increase thanks to the money the state gets from washington for anti-terrorism. The state police is more concentrated upstate where there are less local PDs or Sheriffs to carry out law enforcement needs. In some counties upstate the State Police is the only law enforcement agency.

          We don't need that many troopers downstate so I wouldn't blame LI highways being less safe due to lack of troopers neither to lack of nassau or suffolk police, blame it on the rich kids driving ferraris

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          • #6
            Sounds like the ISP is playing the budget-time crying game. I'll bet the state budget is under review and all their state agencies will be saying they're poor.

            The MA SP used to be 600 Troopers until 1992 when they merged with several other agencies (who miraculously became Troopers overnight) due to some political dealings. Now there are 2300 but the patrols are the same...a desk and 3, a desk and 2 on midnights. Each barracks covers about 15-20 towns, and roughly 300-400 square miles.

            If you look at the number of officers per dept before and after the "50,000 more cops on the streets" bill (maybe 10 years ago?), most depts have about the same if not less since then. Unless of course they're using federal money which has been flowing like $3 pitchers of beer lately.
            Whitechapel - Hate Creation

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            • #7
              Ohio has fewer and more drivers too so it's probably a national issue.
              Money is the key

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by NYSPGreg
                yes you are, plenty enough nassau and sufflok police to patrol LI... and NYC doesn't need the state police for law enforcement needs NYC has a NYPD of 30,000 plus men.

                And there are 3 state troopers assigned to troop NYC. 1 recruiter and 2 troopers doing communication and dispatch. When the terror alert raises the state police is present with the TBTA on bridges and tunnels around the city.

                the NY State Police is 4,700 man strong. NY can afford that many troopers and is actually planning another increase thanks to the money the state gets from washington for anti-terrorism. The state police is more concentrated upstate where there are less local PDs or Sheriffs to carry out law enforcement needs. In some counties upstate the State Police is the only law enforcement agency.

                We don't need that many troopers downstate so I wouldn't blame LI highways being less safe due to lack of troopers neither to lack of nassau or suffolk police, blame it on the rich kids driving ferraris
                You do have a good point; how many troopers are currently assigned to LI?

                Also what do the troopers do out in "rural" (the eastern part; Hamptons; Southold, Riverhead, etc) Suffolk County that they have a station in Riverhead?

                Comment


                • #9
                  I read where Kentucky wasn't sure if they can find the funding to pay for more Troopers after bragging that they have bigger classes of cadets at the moment.

                  Got to be a kick in the pants for someone realizing a dream to be in LE and find out there may not be any money to pay you.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by lt93lover
                    I read where Kentucky wasn't sure if they can find the funding to pay for more Troopers after bragging that they have bigger classes of cadets at the moment.

                    Got to be a kick in the pants for someone realizing a dream to be in LE and find out there may not be any money to pay you.
                    that wuold suck,,,
                    oklahoma just started their first academy in 2 or 3 yrs, the other day,, they have another scheduled for next may, they are around 150 short right now, and predict another 120 by the end of next year,

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It is not much better up here, guys - my Force has about 650 members in this Province, which is roughly 170 members short of what my Division is authorized for. In Manitoba, "D" Division was in the news awhile ago about staffing shortages.

                      My Force had recruited heavily in 1974 (when women were first allowed in as Regular Members/Peace Officers) and 1975, particularly as a ramp-up for the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Federal Government across-the-board budget cut-backs, however, over the years, cut our recruiting and training back by quite a bit, resulting in 3 periods of almost no recruits going through our Academy.

                      Our Academy actually shut down completely about 9 years ago for 6 months. During that hiatus, they re-vamped the training program, cutting it from 26 to 22 weeks, removing classes like typing, swimming and first aid/CPR, and increasing scenario-based training. First Aid/CPR and 30 wpm typing skill certifications are self-obtained prerequisites prior to acceptance into training. Further, we no longer immediately hire recruits, but accept successful applicants as non-paid Cadets, who receive tuition-free training, along with no-cost lodging, meals and uniform issue, plus travel costs, and are only hired upon successful graduation from basic training.

                      In other words, it sounds like ALL of our Agencies sing the same, "Do more with less" song!
                      #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
                      Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
                      RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
                      Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
                      "Smile" - no!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Add Indiana State Police to my post above about KSP-they also don't know if they can pay for their new cadets-the few who are going through training aren't going to make up their shortfall...

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It would suck to make it through the academy, then be the first on the chopping block because of seniority, and get the axe.
                          Whitechapel - Hate Creation

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