The head of the Iowa Department of Public Safety plans to replace retiring state troopers, but the budget outline Public Safety Commissioner Larry Noble has drafted does not call for expanding the ranks of the Iowa State Highway Patrol.  The union for state troopers argues about 100 more officers should be hired to adequately patrol the state’s highways and respond to emergencies at all hours of the day and night. \

Noble acknowledges some troopers may have to travel greater distances or work more overtime.

“I think that we will sustain coverage,” Noble says. “…We are going to provide services to the citizens of Iowa.”

Noble expects 19 troopers to retire within the 18 months — and he says it takes a year to 18 months to train their replacements.

“We’re going to have an academy this summer so that way we can prepare for that,” Noble says.

As of today, there are 348 state troopers on the payroll and the patrol will eventually have 367 trooper on staff when the new troopers are done with their training.

“We do more than just write tickets,” Noble says. “We go beyond the stop and we work in criminal interdiction, such as drugs (and) human trafficking. We’ve had instances of that where people are taken against their will.” Noble says.

The patrol is now a “stable” organization, according to Noble, a former state trooper who says deep budget cuts of the past have been gradually restored. Noble presented a budget outline for his entire agency to Governor Branstad on Tuesday afternoon.  He proposes no increase, but the same level of spending as the current year.