State troopers face crucial staff, funding shortage

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The sad truth is that state troopers have less than half of what they need to properly patrol state roads.

There is even a county without a single trooper assigned to it.

"I have personally driven from Huntsville to Mobile and not seen a single state trooper," said Trooper Curtis Summerville, spokesman for the agency's north Alabama posts.

Some may think lack of troopers is a good thing, because that makes it less likely for you to get caught speeding -- but a bare trooper force makes it more likely for you to be stuck on the side of the road too.

"This is a matter of safety, this is not a matter of getting an increase in our pay salaries or anything of that nature," said Summerville.

The Alabama General Fund puts money into the department -- but lately, it hasn't been enough.

"We're down to about 431 troopers in the state of Alabama," Summerville explained

Sounds like a lot? Not when basic safety guidelines says we need more than 1,000.

Contrary to popular belief, writing more tickets doesn't mean more money for the agency, as a matter of fact, the only ticket money that goes straight to the department is a portion of seatbelt citations.

As far as recruitment, it's not a lack of interest, but a lack of funds.

A federal grant brought in the first trooper class in five years. The average class is anywhere from 40 - 80.

This new class held only 21 new troopers.