According to Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell, the Mississippi Highway Patrol (MHP) is suffering from a massive shortage of officers.
Tindell explained that the department is allowed 650 but currently stand at around 500 with many patrolmen leaving for reasons such as retirement. As more are expected to retire in the fall, MHP will look to combat the trooper shortage with the launch of Cadet Class 66.
“One of the things we’re asking for is trying to get the Mississippi Highway Patrol total numbers up to 600,” he said. “Right now, we hover around 500. We have about 30 that retire a year and we have a lot more that can retire.”
Former law enforcement officers have already been recruited to aid in the lack of troopers with an expected class to launch May 15. Those who have enrolled for the class must have at least two years of experience in law enforcement to qualify for Cadet Class 66.
Tindell added that the class is the first of its kind in Mississippi.
“This will be the first time we’ve ever had a trooper school that has consisted of all prior sworn law enforcement officers,” he said.
Despite the shortage, troopers argue that they are still able to effectively protect the public although they mostly spend time answering calls and working on traffic issues.
The Mississippi Highway Patrol academy lasts for 22 weeks with a starting salary of around $48,000, contingent on experience. For more information or to apply, go to dps.ms.gov.