Kentucky State Police is about 100 troopers short of its authorized staffing level, due in part to retirements and challenges in finding recruits.
The agency currently has 910 troopers, including 69 new trainees that graduated last week.
A recent cadet class had 63 graduates, but there were 62 trooper retirements during the cadet training period, said Trooper Paul Blanton, a spokesman at state police headquarters in Frankfort.
“In the ’80s, we had a big hiring push,” Blanton told The Messenger Inquirer. “… If you bring in (a) group of people, they’re technically going to be eligible to retire at the same time.”
KSP hiring standards require that some people, such as those with visible tattoos, be disqualified, Blanton said.
“There are a lot of restrictions to getting into the state police that people don’t understand,” Blanton said. Like other agencies, such as the FBI, state police require that applicants have not used marijuana over a set number of times in their lives.
Trooper Corey King, public information officer for state police in Henderson, said the agency could use even more troopers than the ones needed to fill the shortage.
Hiring 100 more troopers “would put us where we’re allocated, but our allocation would not put us at the ideal mark,” King said.
Blanton said troopers leaving to join other agencies generally go to federal jobs like the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or city departments like Lexington and Louisville that pay higher wages.
The agency is actively recruiting at job fairs, military bases and elsewhere, Blanton said.
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