South Carolina governor calls for 100 more troopers

| Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Gov. Mark Sanford wants to add 100 South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers as part of a $77 million plan for state law enforcement. It marks the third budget year in a row he has proposed hiring troopers.

Sanford said last week during his monthly Cabinet meeting he would like to add $27.7 million for new law enforcement spending and $49.7 million in one-time expenditures for equipment, facilities and maintenance. The funding would make up part of his $6.5 billion budget proposal.

If approved by the South Carolina Legislature, Sanford's plan would bring the total number of new officers added since the 2005-2006 fiscal year to more than 1,000. Additionally, it would put the most troopers on the road since 1987, The Associated Press reported.

James Schweitzer, director of the state's Department of Public Safety, said his agency would use its portion of the money to add officers and buy vehicles and equipment.

The money also would be used to raise trooper salaries to bring them closer to the average salaries in the region, The AP reported.

Schweitzer said a class of 75 troopers is scheduled to begin training next month. If they all complete the course, the total number of troopers in the state will increase to 953.

Lawmakers will consider the governor's budget during the session that begins Jan. 9.