It may take years to replenish ranks of Pa. State Police

    Pennsylvania’s State Police force stands to gain hundreds of new troopers under Gov. Tom Corbett’s budget proposal.

    However, filling nearly 500 empty slots in the agency authorized to have more than 4,600 troopers may take years, officials said Tuesday during a budget hearing before state lawmakers.

    The Corbett administration’s budget proposals have sought to remedy the gap. They call for an increase to pay for new training classes and 350 new hires.

    That’s all the academy can handle without opening up other training centers that further squeeze the agency’s resources, said police Commissioner Frank Noonan.

    The force isn’t likely to have a net gain of 350 troopers at the end of the year, he said.

    “Here’s the math — if I get 300 troopers and 200 retire, I only gained 100. If I have 400 retire, I’ve lost 100,” Noonan said. “It’s hard for me to predict. It’s an individual decision by everybody.”

    The State Police has seen a yawning vacancy rate for the past few years.

    Before a wave of retirements, there was a period right before Corbett took office when training troopers was put on hold.

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