Officials Look For Ways To Bolster Kentucky State Police

by Rick Howlett on January 14, 2009

From Kentucky Public Radio’s Tony McVeigh

Kentucky needs more state troopers, and even in tight budget times, efforts are underway to try to rebuild the force.

Last week, 56 recruits from across the state reported to the Kentucky State Police Academy in Frankfort to try to become State Troopers. But in state budget hearings, it was revealed only 41 cadets remain in the class. And that number could go even lower says, KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer.

“The training is very, very rigorous from a physical standpoint and from a mental standpoint,” Brewer said Wednesday. “And there’s a lot of reasons for that, that we don’t make any apologies for. My goal and the goal of the Kentucky State Police Academy is to turnout the very best product for the Commonwealth that we can.”

Unlike other state agencies, which suffered four-percent cuts, KSP’s budget is being reduced by two-percent. That was to help the agency, which has its lowest number of Troopers in 30-years, rebuild. Some lawmakers believe it may be time to elevate Vehicle Enforcement officers to State Trooper status, a suggestion KSP has resisted.

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{ 6 comments }

Richard Anderson January 18, 2009 at 10:22 pm

Why would KSP resist the addition of more troopers? They need all the help that they can get and it seems that the vehicle enforcement officers may be a viable solution. I see those brown cars on the highway more than the KSP cars. In fact my sister was given a speeding ticket by one of them last month. She said he was extremely professional and he gave her a big break. We need our highways safer. I- 65 is like a racetrack, if you are not doing 80 they almost run you off the road. We need more state police, and 41 new ones is not going to make that much of a difference. But if you add the enforcement officers you may add a couple hundred troopers, who are not afraid to write tickets!! ASK MY SISTER!!! God bless all Police officers in the state.

David Smith January 19, 2009 at 11:05 am

I think that if the VEO’s want to have the duties and responsibilitys of the KSP, they should have to go through at least the short version (11 weeks) of the academy trainning. If all they want to do is write traffic violations, they already have that capability. The VEO’s I have seen and have known are usually not in the mental or physical shape to be KSP. As far as Mr. Anderson’s comment’s above about adding a couple of hundred of new officers, all they have to do is go is apply, get the background check’s, and go through the intensive (mental and physical) academy. They are similar to the Marines, Just looking for a few GOOD Men. Their reputation of being “The Best they can be” is more than just a slogan, it’s a way of Character and Life. The Kentucky State Police Troopers are the ELITE side of Law enforcement because of this intensive program and high Moral Standards they DEMAND. If Mr. Andersons sister was not breaking the Law, she would not have needed a BIG BREAK! This could be the difference between an “OFFICER” and “TROOPER”.

Eric Hanson January 19, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Mr. Smith, I believe that KSP took over KVE. KSP wanted this merger and they got it. KSP has some great officers, just as KVE has some great officers. Both agencies have a few bad apples. KVE officers have already passed all the mental and physical requirements of an 18 week police academy. Then they have 3 more weeks of Truck school, 1 week of radar and 1 week of drug interdiction. Many of them attend advanced traffic accident reconstruction school. The state is not going to hire a coupe hundred new troopers, and you know that as well as I do. This is about adding needed troopers to our roadways to serve the citizens. KVE officers are currently dispatched by KSP, they work accidents, handle calls for service and assist troopers, deputies and city police on emergency calls. No matter what uniform the officers are wearing doesn’t make them elite, it’s the officer in the uniform and how they handle themselves and treat the public, whether the uniform is tan, gray or blue. It’s a fact that KSP needs more troopers and it they probably won’t be hiring new ones for a while. On the other hand KVE has over 100 officers who are highly trained that already have vehicles, equipment and know the areas that they patrol. Why would they need to apply to an agency that took them over? Why would KSP turn down the chance to add troopers? For the record troopers give plenty of breaks to speeders who were “breaking the law”. I have a ton of respect for KVE officers and Troopers, no matter what uniform that they are in, they are still the ones working alone on the interstate at 2 in the morning with the closest backup 20 minutes away.

J D. Wilson January 19, 2009 at 8:16 pm

This should not be a personal attack on any agency or any officers. I have worked with both KSP and KVE. The KSP academy is very difficult, physically and mentally. The Richmond academy is physically challenging, but it is academically more difficult than KSP’s academy. I can honestly say that both agencies are extremely professional. KVE has changed from the olden DOT days. They are not perfect, but there is really not much difference between them and KSP. There would be no reason for them to apply to be troopers, because they already are state police officers. They will need some more training on domestic violence and KSP policy and procedure. I don’t think this will take 11 weeks, but they will need some sort of transition training. Many of them were already police officers when they were hired by KVE, so some will have an easier time than others. This should not be about KSP vs. KVE, because the road officers and troopers have no say in what happens. The legislators are looking for a way to save money and add more troopers to each post. I think if you take a step back and look at the situation; it will benefit KSP, KVE and the public. KSP will have about 150 more troopers. This will free up some troopers to work cases and patrol high crime areas, while the Commercial unit troopers work the interstate and highways. It would also take some of the case load off of troopers. I would say this would open up more federal grants for troopers to work and many will be cross trained to work with trucks, which will lead to more federal overtime. KVE officers would have to get some sort of a pay raise to be equal with troopers. This is long overdue. This needs to happen regardless if they become troopers or not. The public would have 150 more troopers on the roads. Regardless if they are focusing on trucks, you still have a visible trooper in the area. I hope the legislators realize what a great opportunity they have to enhance public safety.

Jim James January 20, 2009 at 1:19 pm

The Richmond academy is no more difficult academically than the KSP academy, and the physical fitness regimen of the KSP academy is 10 times more difficult than that of Richmond. To say there is no difference between a Trooper and a CVE officer is completely inaccurate. CVE officers are good guys, but Troopers are the top of the food chain both in training and professionalism.

Ruby Howard January 22, 2009 at 11:25 pm

Mr. Smith,
“The VEO’s I have seen and have known are usually not in the mental or physical shape to be KSP” — are you serious? You should be ashamed of such a statement. All agencies have their officers who are not the pillars of physique and knowledge. KSP is no different…trust me. That happens to be one “boys club” where requirements for membership are not based on acheived levels of higher education or mental acuity……

All would do well to remember that most KVE officers NEVER wanted to be troopers or they would have sought out that path long before being hijacked by KSP for it’s own misguided financial desires.

In truth, KSP officers are much more similar to their county and city counterparts in that they do the same job once they become KSP as they did before….they just get to be called troopers. A specialized academy doesn’t change that.

And to Mr. James,
The only food chain KSP is on top of is the income one. They make thousands more than their CVE counterparts who work the same roadways, back them up on calls, and can get shot and killed equally the same…. I think there’s a name for that kind of labor…Oh yeah- HIRED HELP!
Without CVE, the state would lose enormous funding from the federal gov’t for the truck enforcement they do, and I highly doubt the trained, professional troopers have the slightest idea how or the smallest desire to do CVE’s job. They are trained differently, not better. There is a difference… unfortunately the major differences at this juncture are equal pay and equal respect.

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