There sometimes are just seven state troopers patrolling Iowa highways overnight. The Iowa State Troopers Association is asking legislators to give the Iowa State Highway Patrol a significant spending boost, so nearly 90 more troopers can be hired over the next three years.
“In conjunction with Northwestern University out of Evansdale, we have a Police Allocation Model that is based on numbers of troopers needed for our state,” says Iowa State Troopers Association president Darin Snedden. “…Our state needs to increase our trooper numbers by 87.”
In 2000, there were 455 troopers on the state payroll. As of February 1st of this year, there were 363 state troopers on the job in Iowa. That’s 92 fewer troopers than there were 13 years ago.
“On our overnight shift, our midnight shift that runs from 9:30 at night ’til 6:30 in the morning, there is a possibility within our state that there could be as few as seven troopers working, with an average of 7-10 working that overnight shift for our entire state,” Snedden says. “…We could definitely use more troopers not only working that shift, but the whole 24-hour coverage of our state.”
Snedden says with a “diminished number” of troopers on the roads, it often takes longer to respond to calls and troopers with a lot of miles to cover have to drive faster to get there.
“Which is a stressful thing to drive at high speed for an extended period of time,” Snedden says, “but also for the people we travel with.”
It costs about $150,000 to train, hire and equip one state trooper in his or her first year of employment. The Troopers Association estimates it will cost the state about $4.3 million in each of the next three years to hire 29 troopers each of those three years.