Dedicated funding will help ensure enough state police troopers to keep Pa. safe

Col. Christopher Paris
Pennsylvania State Police

When Pennsylvanians need help, the Pennsylvania State Police are there to answer the call and keep them safe. We are proud to serve more than 3.3 million residents — and we take our responsibility seriously.

But police departments across the commonwealth face a potential staffing crisis. When I became a trooper in the 1990s, the PSP had 10,000 applicants per year. In 2022, that number dwindled to only 1,000 applicants.

Every Pennsylvanian deserves to be safe and feel safe in their communities. Keeping communities safe requires a well-staffed, well-funded, and well-equipped police force — and Pennsylvania is currently at risk of not having enough new applicants joining law enforcement and getting the training they need to help keep our communities safe.

State police Col. Christopher Paris

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Public safety is a top priority for both the residents of Pennsylvania and the Shapiro Administration. In Gov. Josh Shapiro's budget address, he proposed the creation of a dedicated funding source for the Pennsylvania State Police in order to ensure future cadet classes continue to help keep our communities safe, and to guarantee the state police has a pipeline of well-trained and supported cadets into the future.

As the Pennsylvania State Police face the challenges that come with their duties each and every day, it is vitally important that the ranks of the department are filled. The budget proposed by the governor provides funding to hire and train 384 new troopers to ensure new cadets continue to fill our ranks, provide the equipment needed, and keep alive the proud traditions of the state police. Policing is a noble profession and good people want to do it — and this budget will help support the men and women who step up to serve our communities.

A dedicated source of funding will help us keep pace with available technology and resources, invest in new police cadet classes to ensure we have a sustainable pipeline for future troopers, and help PSP continue to support communities across the commonwealth.

Gove. Shapiro's budget also proposes a personal income tax credit of up to $2,500 a year for the next three years for new police officers. This proposal will put money back in workers’ pockets and help us train and recruit more personnel to keep people safe.

As our department seeks to continue its mission, we look to support our partners in municipal law enforcement across the commonwealth, with whom we work closely and collaborate daily. Whether it’s a trooper responding to assist a local officer, a helicopter providing overwatch for a search, or our forensic services assisting with an investigation — we stand ready to collaborate with our municipal, county, state and federal law enforcement partners. 

I was once a 22-year-old cadet who was humbled to join the ranks of the Pennsylvania State Police and excited about the professional and personal opportunities becoming a trooper would present to me. Ensuring that we have the infrastructure in place to recruit and retain future troopers through the sustainable funding proposed by Gov. Shapiro is paramount to ensure the ranks of the finest state police agency in the United States can continue to serve Pennsylvanians well into the future.

— Col. Christopher Paris is the Pennsylvania State Police commissioner.