BUDGET SURPLUS: State Patrol Wants More Troopers

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As the legislature debates what to do with an estimated $800-million state budget surplus, the Iowa State Patrol has a suggestion…hire more troopers "Our midnight shifts usually start at nine o'clock in the evening and work until six in the morning." says Sgt. Scott Bright, "And after two in the morning we're averaging between seven to ten troopers for the state of Iowa."

Bright says that just isn’t enough to respond to a serious accident. The low staffing, he says, also puts troopers at risk. State Senator Brad Zaun (R) Urbandale agrees, more money has to be spent hiring additional troopers. But, he says, that money shouldn’t come from the surplus. "I recognize that they should be one of the priorities that should rise to the top if we do decide to spend more money." Zaun says, "I personally believe that that money needs to be returned to the taxpayers of Iowa and then we need to become more efficient on how we spend our money down here."

"I understand that." Bright says, "But when you're out here by yourself...out in the middle of nowhere and you stop a vehicle at four o'clock in the morning and if that individual is wanted for murder and your closest backup is 45 minutes away...it's a totally different Situation."