MHP prepares for holiday enforcement while facing manpower chall - - Jackson, MS

MHP prepares for holiday enforcement while facing manpower challenges

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT

The Mississippi Highway Patrol is asking for your help this holiday weekend. 

They've got fewer folks to put on the roads but the responsibility of maintaining public safety hasn't changed.

There's been a 9.5 percent increase in crashes from January 1-May 23. That's 2015 compared to 2016. That's while troopers are already being stretched thin.

"If we do have an accident or crash that we have to respond to, keep in mind that trooper could be coming from a county maybe two counties over," explained Captain Johnny Poulos, MHP Public Affairs Division Director. "There could be some time from when the call is actually made to when the trooper responds. Here again, we really need that cooperation from the public this weekend."

There are 475 working troopers in Mississippi. But only 201 are assigned to work the roads. 

Divide that in half for shifts and factor in days off. And that means there are less than 100 troopers on the Mississippi's roads at any given time.

"Troopers are basically trying to respond from one crash to another, in between trying to perform enforcement activities," Poulos said.

180 of the total sworn officers are eligible to retire right now and could leave at any time.

"The problem is, in 2015 we graduated 48 troopers," Poulos noted. "Since that time we have lost 86 due to attrition. So, it's very hard to keep our numbers up."

It would cost over $11.3 million for a class of 100 graduates.

"Even though we are facing a trooper shortage across the state, we do want the public to understand that we will be out this weekend enforcing the laws and making sure everyone arrives to their destination safely," added Poulos.

MHP will set up checkpoints this holiday weekend. They'll also have troopers in the high traffic areas in attempt to get folks to slow down and pay attention.

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