KENAI, Alaska (AP) — Alaska State Troopers are rebranding their department in an attempt to draw in more prospective troopers.
The agency is cranking up its recruiting efforts after a study showed that it is facing a decline in trooper numbers, the Peninsula Clarion reported .
On Wednesday, Alaska State Troopers unveiled a new logo and slogan — “Guardians of the 49th — in hopes of attracting recruits.
The agency also showed off two new police vehicles at the Alaska State Fair in Palmer.
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The Alaska Department of Public Safety Recruitment and Retention Plan Overview for 2018-2023 states that the department needs to maintain a 300-person Alaska State Trooper workforce and 89 Wildlife Troopers.
The state currently has 337 commissioned troopers, said Department of Public Safety Communications Director Jonathon Taylor.
“The budget climate, reduced resources, inadequate wages and the inability to provide a defined benefits retirement system have placed the department at critically low staffing levels. Low staff and reduced funding is detrimental to the department’s ability to effectively deliver core public safety services,” the report said.
About a third of employees at ranks of trooper, corporal and sergeant and 94 percent of command staff will be eligible to retire within the next five years, the report said.
Troopers who have trained and served in Alaska are also highly marketable to other law enforcement agencies, making retention difficult, Taylor said.
So far, the recruitment efforts are paying off, he said.
Academy enrollees have increased from nine last spring to 22 this fall.
Information from: (Kenai, Alaska) Peninsula Clarion, http://www.peninsulaclarion.com