MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama Law Enforcement Agency officials continue to hire state troopers as one of its largest classes of troopers is eligible to retire.
ALEA Secretary Hal Taylor said the state’s largest trooper class of 150 graduated in 1996 and 1997. It has been more than 20 years since then which allows those troopers to retire.
“So that’s going to leave a big void when they do," Taylor said.
Fifty-five troopers graduated Thursday and dozens more graduate Dec. 3. However, Taylor said more than 40 troopers retired this year, so the majority of the new recruits are filling in that gap.
By the end of this December he said there will be 445 state troopers on the highways. The department’s goal is to have 650 state troopers. Taylor said it will take a couple of years to meet that goal because of the large number of troopers that are eligible to retire.
“You can’t stop hiring and buying equipment because if you ever get behind a year or two, it takes several years to make up for that," he said. "You end up with people retiring and no one to replace them.”
That goal would put one state trooper in every county 24/7.
Taylor said he has worked to replenish the ranks since taking office a few years back. State lawmakers gave ALEA $5.5 million to hire 50 new state troopers in Fiscal Year 2020.
“I can’t thank the legislature and the governor enough," he said.
*These numbers fluctuate depending on retirements and resignations.
He plans to ask lawmakers for about $6 million to hire 50 more state troopers beginning Oct. 1, 2020. Taylor said eventually they would hire enough troopers so they do not always need to replenish the ones retiring.