‘It’s the worst case scenario’: Massachusetts State Police reassign specialized troopers amid staffing shortages
"At a time where our numbers are dwindling our responsibilities are increasing."
BOSTON, MASS. (WLNE) – Massachusetts State Police are suffering from a critical staffing shortage which has forced them to remove troopers from their specialty units and put them back in the barracks to cover the mass shortages.
The staffing issues come amid low recruitment rates and an increased amount of retirements.
Those 46 specialized troopers specifically investigate things such as arson, homicides, and gang activity.
Sergeant Michael Cherven, President of the Massachusetts State Police Association, told ABC6 the shortages have been forcing troopers to work 16 to 17 hour shifts.
“It’s worst-case scenario,” Cherven said the agency is expected to lose up to 300 troopers this year.
The agencies current academy is only made up of 172 recruits.
Cherven went on to say the shortage is not only inconvenient, but a major safety issue for state troopers, who are now heading to scenes where they may be outnumbered.
He referred to the highway standoff in Wakefield involving law enforcement and the Rise of the Moors militia group, by saying the situation highlighted the need for more well-rested, prepared troopers, who are ready to respond to anything.
“In a time where we’re trying to teach our people to de-escalate to communicate better…if we’re sending less to a scene it’s a recipe for disaster.”
Cherven says when he took the test to become a state trooper in 1992, 30,000 others applied as well.
The test a few weeks ago received only 6,500 applicants.
State troopers have been leaving the agency and heading to municipalities who offer incentives and higher pay.
“At a time where our numbers are dwindling our responsibilities are increasing.”