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Courts and Crime

Maine State Trooper Shortage Persists, Despite New Recruits

Eight new state troopers were sworn in at ceremonies at the criminal justice academy last week, but that has done little to ease the vacancies at the Maine State Police.

Lawmakers gave pay raises ranging from 12 percent to 18 percent to troopers after they were convinced the state police was not competitive with other law enforcement agencies both in and out of state.

“We still have 28 vacancies, it’s really too early to tell because the pay raise didn’t go into effect until July 1 and our next class won’t be until January,” says Col. Robert Williams, chief of the Maine State Police.

Williams says he hopes the raises will have an impact on recruiting when the next class is held by the criminal justice academy in January. He says it may be a year before he can assess whether the raises have helped in recruitment.

“Anybody can fill out an application, but making it through all the steps is the difficult part, so we probably won’t know probably for another year to know the true impact from that. But we hear a lot of talk out in the community about it, we hear about local police officers who are saying, ‘Maybe this is the time to become a trooper if I want to.’“