Kentucky State Police commissioner paints dark picture in regard to KSP resources

10/26/2017 03:35 PM

FRANKFORT – The resources and infrastructure within the Kentucky State Police is lacking, causing safety concerns moving forward.

KSP Commissioner Rick Sanders told members of the Budget Review Subcommittee on Justice and Judiciary on Thursday that his agency is in need of a surplus of cash to first off, get new vehicles to replace a badly aging fleet.

“We keep increasing the average mileage of our cruisers,” Sanders said. “The average mileage on those vehicles is over 140,000 miles and there were some troopers who received cars with over 180,000 miles on them.”

Sanders hopes that after getting the fleet up close to where it needs to be, KSP will be able to order 160 new vehicles annually, to keep the same issues from reoccurring in regard to an outdated fleet.

Another area where the state police need updating is in the area of weapons as officers were armed with old guns, including outdated M16 Army surplus rifles.

“These were Vietnam-era rifles,” Sanders said. “About a month ago, we got a notice from DOD that they were going to recall all of our rifles. We just mustered enough money to order 200 rifles, and we spent every penny we had to do that.”

There is growing concern with the agencies outdated communications system which is critical since many KSP officers patrol very remote, isolated regions of the state where reliable communication is essential.

“Our radio system is failing and now we’re being told by Motorola that the parts for those radios are no longer in existence, and we can’t order replacement parts for those radios,” Sanders said. “So, this radio system is going to die within the next couple of years, and we’re going to have to do something to communicate with our troopers out on the road.”

Another area of concern is trooper and support staff recruitment and retention, as KSP is training and losing troopers and support personnel to local municipalities which pay more.

“It’s a tough time to recruit police officers, and we’re experiencing that as well,” Sanders said. “As of the end of this month we’re going to have 848 troopers for the commonwealth of Kentucky. At one point there were over a thousand troopers that were on duty, supporting the commonwealth.”

Sanders told legislators that budget cuts over the years have led to the decline of resources and he’s hopeful that KSP will get added revenue in the next biennium to better equip troopers who are protecting the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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