It looks like bad news is coming for the officers of the Pennsylvania State Police. They are looking down the barrel of some serious law enforcement layoffs in the fast approaching budget for the New Year. The governor of the state, Mr. Tom Corbett, has already made it plain that these cuts could be extensive, as the state itself is making some rather serious cutbacks in order to deal with some hefty debts that they have acquired.
Now, to be fair this is not a targeted set of layoffs that just the state police officers need to deal with. These cuts will impact a number of departments, and quite possibly all of them. The 2012 budget for the state of Pennsylvania will be a zero growth budget, and it will come with some very serious cuts to a variety of state services in order to make up the estimated budget deficit of $500 million for this year.
At the current moment the Governor of Pennsylvania, Mr. Tom Corbett, has neither made an official statement, nor replied to media inquiries about the possibility of layoffs from the state police department. The union for the police officers however has already been put on notice by the administration that layoffs can be expected in the near future. This means that layoffs are very likely.
Bruce Edwards, the president of the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, was willing to give specifics to a reporter for Delaware County News Network Online and he expects some large scale layoffs, “We are looking at 400 to 500 troopers being laid off.” He also told the reporter that they are getting ready for a few more radical changes to the way that police in the state are run. Some of the expected changes include:
– The closure of five state police stations (or barracks) though at this time the five to be cut have not been identified to the union.
– The elimination of new classes to the Pennsylvania State Police Academy. There will be no new cadets to come out of the school for at least the next 18 months. Traditionally, the academy releases 50 graduates per class.
– Extra job losses due to retirement slots that are not filled. This could actually represent a fair number of jobs, when you consider that in the next five years there is a significant portion of the force, about 30%, who are going to be coming of retirement age. That could represent a loss of about 1,500 positions to the force.
Or, as Edwards told the same reporter, “There is no other way to put it except that the layoffs are going to happen. I expect that 1,000 of those eligible for retirement will be going out, so what we will have is a situation where there will be layoffs, no new cadet classes and retirements.”
The Pennsylvania State Troopers Association currently represents about 4,400 state level officers in Pennsylvania.
If things do not change radically the situation could get worse in 2012, when the state is expected to have an even larger debt to deal with. At the current moment the 2013 estimate is for a $750 million budget deficit. Though these numbers could change depending on how things are handled during the 2012 year.400 to 500 PA Troopers to be Laid Off by Harrison Barnes