In an effort to boost the number of state troopers in North Carolina the state Highway Patrol is pursuing younger recruits.
The Highway Patrol announced Tuesday, Aug. 15, it will lower
the minimum age for applying to join the police force from 21 to 19 years and
six months, The Associated Press reported. The patrol is also expanding
its recruiting efforts by talking with students at community colleges and
visiting driver’s education classes.
Agency spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin said nearly 8 percent
of the patrol’s 1,815 trooper positions are vacant. The patrol is hopeful that
reducing the age requirement will help fill the positions.
“We’re not at a critical state by any means,” Clendenin told The AP, but “we’ve got vacancies that need to be filled.”
The new tactics are intended to attract young adults to the
patrol before they join another law enforcement agency or choose another
career, such as the military.
Clendenin also cited baby boomers who are retiring from the
force and officers called up in the military reserves for the drain on enforcement
personnel. In addition, cash-strapped municipalities are struggling to keep pay
and benefits for officers competitive.