The Mississippi Highway Patrol is about 150 troopers short of where it needs to be, and 120 troopers are ready to retire. Don’t believe me? Get out on the Interstate or the Highway; you’re probably not going to see a State Trooper. What you will see are people speeding up and down our state, bump drafting each other like it is the Magnolia 500 at Talladega Super Speedway. What is the end result you may be asking yourself? People will die.
The Mississippi House unanimously voted to fund a Trooper School to the tune of about seven million dollars. Senator Kenny Wayne Jones stated on my show a few weeks ago that the Legislative Black Caucus supports funding a Trooper School. Governor Phil Bryant proclaimed “as God as my witness help is on the way” and even hinted of a special session to protect public safety in Mississippi.
So here we are, the ball is in the court of the Lt. Governor and the Senate. So the question is, does Tate Reeves support a Trooper school? Here is why I do, and you should too: As the number of troopers has reached an all-time low, the number of drunk or impaired drivers on the road has increased. Last year the MHP made over 2,000 fewer DUI arrests than the previous year.
A shortage of Troopers on the road also means fewer investigators at the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations. Last year MBI assisted local Police and Sheriff’s Departments in over 900 major investigations. If your family is the victim of rape, murder, or any other violent crime, you want all available resources available to catch those responsible. Do you remember hurricane Katrina, the manhunt in Guntown, the bio diesel plant explosion in New Albany, or the bomb threat and evacuation of MS Valley State University Campus? These types of events require large numbers of personnel that most agencies in our state just do not have. They rely on the Mississippi Highway Patrol to step in and fill that void in their time of need. Who will be there if MHP does not have the people to do the job? Fewer Troopers equal less service. Statistics show that as the number of Troopers on the road have steadily decreased, the number of fatalities on the roads they patrol have increased.
Fewer Interdiction Troopers mean more drugs in our communities and in our schools. Fewer motor carrier troopers mean more unsafe big rigs on our highways. Fewer special operations troopers mean less rescue boats during a flood and less manpower to locate a lost child. When tragedy strikes, how many Troopers will you say we need? Maybe you should ask Lt. Governor Tate Reeves!