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160 troopers needed statewide for N.C. Highway Patrol

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

Highway Patrol troopers in North Carolina are working extra hard these days, as they are facing a trooper shortage.

In North Carolina, there are 1600 troopers assigned to cover 100 counties. Currently, there are 160 job openings for troopers, a 10% shortage.

North Carolina Highway Patrol First Sergeant, Jeff Gordon, says one of the counties with vacancies is Pamlico County.

"Pamlico County is allotted four troopers, unfortunately, we only have two that are working that whole county," said Gordon.

Gordon says the shortage is due to several factors all hitting at the same time. One of the major contributing factors is retirement.

" We have a lot of people that are retiring at this particular age, and also attrition. A lot of troopers that came on in the early eighties are getting the retirement; and, what we're seeing, people retiring which in essence causes vacancies. On top of that we're having budget issues as well, as everyone else. So, the economic conditions are impacting the Highway Patrol, and that is also attributing to the shortage of troopers as well," said Gordon.

Gordon says another contributing factor still impacting the department today, is a hiring freeze from 2011.

He says during that time they couldn't hold patrol school, which placed more than 50 troopers on the highways.

"Another thing that we're dealing with is a lot of people are simply not applying to law enforcement jobs, and that's not just a Highway Patrol issue that's all law enforcement," said Gordon.

Despite the shortage and lack of interest, Gordon says Highway Patrol is actively recruiting applicants throughout the state.

Included in the state budget proposal is $2.5million allocated to hiring 69 troopers. Until then, Highway Patrol will continue doing more with limited resources.

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The North Carolina Highway Patrol is experiencing a shortage of troopers with 160 current empty positions statewide.

Chowan, Pamilco and Gates counties currently only have two troopers employed out of four allotted for each location.

The Times-News of Burlington first reported the open positions (http://bit.ly/1b4FYfS ).

According to the Associated Press, Department of Public Safety officials hope to get more money this year to end a hiring freeze on 69 of those empty positions. 

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