FHP hopes recent boosts in salary and benefits will help combat the nationwide problem of fewer people going into law enforcement careers.
After six grueling months of training, the 50 graduates of the Florida Highway Patrol’s latest recruit class collected their diplomas and their assignments.
Sherry Head is going with more than a dozen others to beef up patrols along Alligator Alley. She says her sheriff’s deputy brother inspired her to go into law enforcement.
Trooper Sherry Head of the Florida Highway Patrol said, "I just wanted to make a difference, be somebody who could help other people and if they needed help, be there to help them."
Although the 50 new troopers will fan out across the state, 35 have retired over the past six months, so the net gain is only 15 troopers for all of Florida.
The Florida Highway Patrol currently has 160 trooper vacancies. That’s actually an improvement. FHP was down more than 200 troopers just a little over a year ago.
Director Chris Knight points to a nationwide problem of fewer people coming out of the military to go into law enforcement, more competition for qualified people, and it’s just a tougher job these days.
COL Chris Knight of the Florida Highway Patrol said, "The volume of traffic out here, the issues that we deal with are just so much more going on, and the private sector has some pretty attractive jobs."
A recent boost in pay and benefits should help. Troopers now start at over $35,000.