Ga. agency pleads for incentives to attract more troopers
ATLANTA (WRDW/WAGT) - Some Georgia lawmakers are making public safety their main focus this next legislative session.
The House Public Safety Committee led by Rep. Bill Hitchens, R-Rincon, was formed to tackle a shortage of officers within the Department of Public Safety.
DPS oversees the Georgia State Patrol, Capitol Police, and the Motor Carrier Compliance Division.
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As of July 2023, there are 799 troopers, 240 MCCD officers, and 24 Capitol police officers.
Lt Col. Billy Hitchens reports nationwide that there are roughly 50% more resignations and 47% fewer applications today than in 2019. It’s made it nearly impossible for them to reach their goal of employing 1,000 officers across the state.
Georgia ranks 36th in the nation for state law enforcement salary but has the eighth-largest population.
“Our biggest challenge in law enforcement is getting people to join our profession and stay their entire career,” said Hitchens.
Trooper strength means fewer fatalities on the road.
Hitchens reports nationwide that there are roughly 50% more resignations and 47% fewer applications today than before 2020.
DPS surveyed their employees about reasons for leaving. They found employees’ largest concerns include their retirement package, pay, and community support.
Rep. Brian Prince (D-Augusta) said he’d like to see some of the suggestions written into legislation. He also wanted to invite officers to his district to have them interact more with people.
“If there’s something we can do to promote them like town halls, and they can show up and say a few words, it goes a long way in the communities I work with,” said Prince.
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