Mississippi trooper shortage a crisis for MHP - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Mississippi trooper shortage a crisis for MHP

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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DESOTO COUNTY. Miss. (FOX13) -

FOX13 News has learned that the lack of Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers is now putting a crunch on sheriff departments all over the state.

MHP is down as many as 300 troopers, an all time high.

The shortage is so bad, Gov. Phil Bryant said he may have to call for a special session to address the problem. The county sheriff's departments are now carrying an increased workload and they are working more and more wrecks that the troopers used to work.

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At the state capitol Wednesday in Jackson, off-duty troopers rallied and called for the legislature to fund a trooper school. The shortage of troopers is being felt across the Magnolia State by the sheriff's departments, DeSoto County included.

"Either us or the highway patrol is required to work all motor vehicle accidents in unincorporated areas," said DeSoto County Chief Deputy Macon Moore. "So if they don't respond or if they have an extended (estimated time arrival), we end up working the accident. Well in the last year we have worked a vast majority of them on the state highway due to the lack of manpower."
 
The lack of highway patrolman has pulled sheriff's department deputies in many cases from their usual patrols. Where highway patrols used to be assigned counties, they are now assigned zones, and MHP response time is way up.

"We are not going to have a citizen wait an hour," Moore said. "It's not the troopers fault. They have to respond from New Albany or Batesville or Lafayette County. That's just how shorthanded they are. That happens time and again."
 
Of the friends MIssissippi Highway Patrol has is DeSoto County Sheriff Bill Rasco. FOX13 News has learned that Sheriff Rasco has been very active in the push to get funding for a trooper school.
 
"I know that the sheriff has had meetings with the lieutenant governor and the governor and the command staff of the highway patrol," Moore said. "We respond to 1,100 accidents a year. Some they work. Most we end up working."

One of the problems the Magnolia State is going to have is that this trooper shortage is not going to go away quickly. On average about 50 troopers will graduate from a school.

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