Many in Pennsylvania are not aware, but we face a critical public safety issue right now: more than 500 unfilled Pennsylvania State Police vacancies. Unfortunately, this is a crisis made on budgeting decisions, not common sense.
There are enough candidates to fill the positions, but some in Harrisburg don't want to invest in the necessary cadet classes.
That should be troubling to all Pennsylvanians who understand that public safety is a principal function of government. This crisis means 500 fewer troopers are available to investigate crimes and maintain safety for more than 12 million residents.
As important, this also has made the job of being a state trooper far more dangerous.
Recent history shows this crisis is only getting worse. As of January 2012, there were 347 vacancies. That number topped 500 later that year, unprecedented in recent Pennsylvania history.
To address this ongoing issue, Sen. Richard Kasunic has introduced Senate Bills 513 and 514, which would ensure larger cadet classes and a mandatory increase in troopers.
Despite the increased risk, troopers will always continue to do their jobs with a strong sense of duty. But public safety is a core function of government, and Pennsylvania can and should do better for its citizens.
On behalf of all troopers, we would like to thank Sen. Kasunic for showing the leadership necessary to address a problem that affects every Pennsylvanian.
Joseph R. Kovel
The writer is president of the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association.
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