Fewer drunk driving arrests a sign that Kansas desperately needs more troopers

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TOPEKA, Kan. -- The Kansas Highway Patrol desperately needs more troopers to help cover more than 10,000 miles of roadway in the Sunflower State.

They're unable to recruit new troopers fast enough to replace retiring veterans and as a result, since 2008, the nubmer of troopers in Kansas has dropped 16 percent.  That leaves about 400 troopers responsible for more than 10,000 miles of highway.

Low pay, reported morale problems and unpredictable, demanding hours are hurting the patrol's recruiting efforts.

"There are times when our troopers are out past midnight, one, two, three, four in the morning responding to crashes, dealing with critical events and applicants in today's society are looking for alternatives to that," said  Trooper Ben Gardner, Kansas Highway Patrol trooper, who has worked for KHP for 16 years.

Statistics also show that fewer troopers result in fewer tickets. While that may sound like a "plus" for anyone who has ever paid a ticket, it also means fewer drunken-driving arrests.  Between 2008 to 2014, troopers ticketed 31 percent fewer drivers and arrested 53 percent fewer drunk drivers.

For more on the requirements and qualifications for a KHP trooper, click here.

"Looking for people from the military, colleges, other career paths that may have been burned out and decided that maybe it's time to respark their career," said Trooper Gardner.

"It's more than a career to me. It's who I am. It's rewarding, " said Trooper Gardner.