KASUNIC BILL MANDATING STATE POLICE CADET CLASSES WINS COMMITTEE NOD

KASUNIC BILL MANDATING STATE POLICE CADET CLASSES WINS COMMITTEE NOD  
 
Harrisburg, Oct. 12, 2010 – A state Senate committee today unanimously approved legislation introduced by State Senator Richard A. Kasunic (D-Fayette/Somerset) that would require the state to form new State Police cadet classes to fill trooper shortages.
 
The bill (Senate Bill 1456) now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
 
“I am encouraged by today’s unanimous bipartisan committee vote,” Kasunic said. “It is this legislature’s obligation to assure that there are an adequate number of troopers patrolling our highways and communities.”
 
Under the Kasunic bill, which was unanimously approved by the Senate Law and Justice Committee today, a new State Police class of at least 150 cadets must be formed if the total number of troopers falls 5 percent or more below the department’s compliment.  Additionally, the bill would exempt troopers assigned to casinos, liquor enforcement, or the Delaware River Bridge Authority from being counted toward the department’s compliment.
 
“The bill’s intent is simple,” Kasunic said.  “An adequate number of troopers protecting the health and safety of our citizens is far too important to relegate to political tugs of war and gamesmanship when the state’s finances are tight.
 
“My bill would establish a legal process mandating that cadet classes be formed if the number of troopers drops below a defined threshold.”
 
Kasunic said the State Police is currently about 300 officers under its 4,310 statutory authorized complement.  He said patrol responsibilities have grown during these difficult economic times because many local police departments have disbanded or gone part-time.  Making matters worse, many troopers have been moved in recent years from patrol duty to newer mandated work ranging from administering various criminal databases to policing at casinos.
 
Kasunic added that the department will soon face a spike in retirements. He said a third of all current troopers were hired from 1991-1994.  Most of them will reach their 20-year retirement eligibility this year. 
 
The Dunbar lawmaker has also introduced Senate Bill 1455, a bill that would raise the State Police compliment from 4,310 to 5,000.
 
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October 13th, 2010 | Posted in Front Page Stories | No Comments