Raleigh, N.C. — In its first recruiting blitz in five years, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol is looking to quickly fill 183 vacant positions with qualified applicants.
The Highway Patrol loses about 10 troopers a month to attrition, which doesn't include troopers who quit or are fired. Last year, budget cuts forced the agency to implement a hiring freeze.
Now, Trooper Courtney Dail says the agency needs more officers on patrol.
"We need help on the road investigating collisions," she said. "We're having to go from call to call, getting backed up – people are having to wait longer."
That's why the agency is hosting a recruiting fair Thursday at its training facility in Raleigh. Troopers will be on hand to assist applicants – who must be between 21 and 39 with a clean criminal record – from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 3318 Old Garner Road.
Trooper Eric Naylor said more troopers will help the public.
"Call times will be cut down," he said. "People won't have to wait for accidents or anything of that nature."
The hiring process takes about four months from the time a new recruit applies until he or she starts training, so even if Thursday's job fair goes well, it will be months before troopers get some help on the roads.
Jon Gregory, a law enforcement training coordinator at Wake Technical Community College, said he has seen a 20 to 30 percent spike in students seeking careers in law enforcement.
He advises his students to "think long and hard" about becoming a law enforcement officer.
"If this the type of profession you want to get into?" Gregory asks students. "Careers in this arena – it may last six years, then the person is out."
Naylor said the agency looks for applicants who are called to public service.
"Dedicated, motivated – that's what we're looking for with new troopers," he said. "With the Highway Patrol, it needs to be something you want to do."