Highway Patrol tries to bring in recruits as agency sees trooper shortages

CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. — The North Carolina Highway Patrol said it needs to hire more than 175 troopers to make up for its shortage of patrolman.

[PAST COVERAGE: State highway patrol shortage impacting coverage in Mecklenburg County]

Recruiters in Catawba County were at a job fair at Wilkes Community College Tuesday to bring new troopers onboard, including 23-year-old Sasha Sizemore.

“They’re saying how much you’d get paid, and you can get a $4,000 raise after you graduate,” Sizemore said.

The starting salary is $44,500 but after graduation from patrol school, new troopers get a $4,500 pay bump.

State troopers will get a 6.5% raise every year for the first six years, which would bring the salary up to nearly $71,000.

But even with all that it’s tough to recruit right now against both the private sector and other law enforcement agencies.

“All the agencies are short-handed across the state, local sheriff’s office, police departments, other states agencies,” said Aaron Millsaps, with the N.C. Highway Patrol. “We’re all short-handed. And we’re all trying to gather the same group of people.”

Troop F in Newton has temporarily added additional recruiters.

They are also trying to attract more females and minorities.

[ALSO READ: Charlotte city leaders address shortage of officers on police force]

Two high school students said Tuesday the state troopers they spoke with were convincing.

“Their pitch is pretty good, though,” student Parker Well said. “They talk about how they’re always going to have openings.”

“The way that they describe being a state trooper and everything involved, it’s certainly something I would think about doing,” student Uriel Gomez said.

(Watch the video below: State highway patrol shortage impacting coverage in Mecklenburg County)