BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — The head of the Kentucky State Police says the agency is facing a manpower shortage and an aging high-mileage fleet, among other issues.

KSP Commissioner Rick Sanders recently told lawmakers, who begin work on a new budget in January, that the agency has reached a critical point.

State police have about 840 sworn officers, of whom only about 500 are road troopers, The Daily News of Bowling Green reported. The agency is considered fully staffed with 1,070 sworn law enforcement officers.

Sanders said the agency is using decades-old rifles. He said the agency mustered enough money to order 200 newer rifles, and that it is still in need of 800 rifles so that it can assign those rifles to all sworn personnel.

The Kentucky State Police is also in need of 260 cars within 12 to 18 months, he said, adding about 180 cars need to be retired every year from the aging fleet. Additionally, Sanders said, its radio system is so old that parts are no longer available.

Other law enforcement agents are supporting the call to bolster state police.

“The state police is our backup and when they don’t have the personnel to do their job, it puts us all at risk,” said Butler County Sheriff Scottie Ward.

Officials said Post 3 is one of the Kentucky posts most in need of manpower. The post covers several areas, including Barren, Butler and Edmonson counties. Post 3 troopers received over 12,700 complaints in 2013. By 2015, that number had increased to over 13,000, according to the report. There are currently 35 sworn troopers and one arson investigator at Post 3.

Officials also noted that agency has held several recruitment fairs statewide for trooper candidates. However, Lt. Col. Chad White said the agency only has enough funding for up to 900 troopers.

Lawmakers will convene in January and set a budget for the next two years.


Information from: Daily News, http://www.bgdailynews.com