State highway patrol shortage affecting coverage in Mecklenburg County – WSOC TV
MECKLENBURG COUNTY, NC – Drivers in Mecklenburg County may not be as protected as they should be as the North Carolina Highway Patrol faces a troop shortage.
Currently, the state highway patrol has fewer than 1,400 troops to cover the entire state. Mecklenburg County, one of the largest in the state, has 38 officers. But due to the shortage, only 32 officers are currently assigned to the county.
“We know that with a decrease in the workforce, it brings challenges in receiving calls,” said Sgt. Chris Knox said.
Knox has been part of the Highway Patrol for 20 years. He travels regularly on Interstate 77 with his family, and when he saw videos of street runners blocking ramps to burnout on the road, it made him angry.
State soldiers responded to the racing incident, but officers took some time to get to the scene.
“We have to be there and be in the right places at the right time,” he said. “Like that night in question, I think we had several people in jail who had arrested impaired drivers. “
Knox told Channel 9 presenter John Paul that the department was concerned about the shortage.
“The workforce dictates most of the conversations we have. We know we can’t serve the public to the best of our ability if we don’t meet the allowances we currently have in place, ”Knox said.
Channel 9 discovered several reasons for staff shortages, such as the national climate after the shootings and salaries involving police officers.
But state representative Caroline Logan believes the current allocation for Mecklenburg County is not enough.
Logan served as a private for 30 years before retiring in 2007. She said there were more soldiers serving Mecklenburg County then than there are now.
“I have served the people of this state all my life and our job is to make sure we take care of the people of this state. And at the moment, the people of Mecklenburg County and the people who pass through Mecklenburg County are not being served well, ”she said.
Logan said she does not understand why the number of troops in Charlotte and Mecklenburg County has been reduced when at least 50 soldiers are assigned to neighboring Wake County.
“No one should have to sit and wait for hours for the highway patrol to arrive at the scene of the accident or whatever,” she said.
Recently, Logan introduced a bill to put Mecklenburg County on a par with Wake County, allocating 50 troops instead of 38.
She said it would help with response times and crime. But so far the bill has not made much headway.
Knox said no matter how many officers are assigned to the county, the challenge of filling those jobs remains.
“It is difficult to convince people that what they might hear is not true and that the actions of one do not represent the character and reliability of a collective career,” he said.
“We need more people. We hope to attract more people. “
(WATCH: Drivers filmed blocking I-77, performing burnouts, stunts)
Cox Media Group