Iowa trooper staffing shortage creating difficulties

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — An Iowa state trooper say persistent staffing shortages is draining for officers and creating difficulties for the public, but an influx of additional staff appears unlikely amid a tight state budget.

The Des Moines Register reports the Iowa State Patrol has 358 sworn personnel. That’s down from about 450 troopers in 2000, before budget cuts led to staff reductions.

The staffing shortages have sparked complaints about long waits for troopers to arrive at crash scenes and concerns about large areas of rural Iowa not having trooper coverage at night. State Police Officers Council president Trooper Jason Bardsley says one officer had to drive 115 miles from near the Iowa-Missouri state line to assist with a fatal crash.

Bardsley says he hopes the Iowa Legislature can begin taking steps during its 2017 session to address the shortage.