Cheyenne, WY (KGWN) - Wyoming's Highway Patrol is dealing with major understaffing issues. They're just not getting enough applicants to fill vacant positions. The result is officers working long hours and Wyoming residents not getting the assistance they need.
Kids once dreamed of growing up to be policemen and fire fighters, but that no longer seems to be the case.
"We're having difficulty filling the positions that we already have," said Lt. Klief Guenther, Wyoming Highway Patrol Officer.
It's a trend around the country that has hit Wyoming's Highway Patrol.
"It's becoming more difficult to find good quality folks that want to come into law enforcement and make it a career and stay in law enforcement," Lt. Guenther said.
Trooper numbers are down significantly from where they'd like them to be.
"Currently, our trooper ranks, we're down approximately 30 positions, which if you look at that number as how many actual troopers that we have out on the highway of Wyoming every day, that's pretty extensive," he said.
The low numbers are causing troopers to miss important training seminars and work long hours.
"They have to work more overtime as well as potentially get called out on a more regular basis," said Lt. Guenther.
But this trend isn't just affecting highway patrol troopers. It's also hurting those traveling Wyoming's highways. People like you and I who may need assistance.
"You might have to wait a little longer for a trooper to respond because they may be taking care of other crashes or other responsibilities," said Lt. Guenther.
To get troopers who apply out into the field faster they're condensing the training process.
"We're trying to slim that up and narrow it down so that we can get folks into the testing process and get them through that in less than that four month time period," Lt. Guenther said.
Lt. Guenther says he believes a lot of potential troopers are being lost to the energy industry. He says they simply cannot compete with the wages that they can make in that industry.
If you know someone age 22-50 who likes to serve, who loves their country, who is willing to learn and work hard for a very decent wage, encourage them to contact Wyoming Highway Patrol. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 307 777-4303 if you want to visit about a career with a great organization.