JASPER CO., SC (WTOC) - South Carolina Highway Patrol is taking action due to a shortage of troopers.
A recruitment event was held Wednesday at the patrol office in Ridgeland.
One recruiter says they are aggressively recruiting new troopers, but there is also one policy they're changing. While state troopers have a decent salary as well as health benefits, state police are trying to find more ways to bring in manpower. Troopers have recently changed the tattoo policy, training, and the employment process.
LCpl Delvin Brown says state police aren't lowering their standards in order to recruit more troopers, they are just being more realistic with how the world is evolving.
"I wouldn't say that we're understaffed throughout the state, but right now we're doing a good job with what we have. The troopers that we have...those guys work hard. The numbers don't stop us from doing what we do," LCpl Brown said. "One extra body is a big help, but the more numbers we get, we can accomplish our mission a whole lot better."
Going into 2018, state troopers made one major change to the tattoo policy where applicants can have tattoos below their elbows, but they can't be offensive.
"You want to get qualified applicants. We had to not lower our standards when it comes to the employment process, but had to change our policy in order to get those applicants who did have the qualities we were looking for," Brown said.
As far as training and the employment process...
"Every three weeks, we'll be looking to send five to seven troopers to the academy."
"A few years ago, we just got a pay raise. The starting salary is $38,273. That's what it still is. More money is always better, but you don't do this job for the money," Brown said.
LCpl Brown says passion is what keeps him recruiting more men and women to the team of highway patrol.
"At the end of the day, I always want to put a smile on their faces, so that keeps me going," he said.
Georgia State Patrol is struggling to fill 150 jobs statewide.
If you couldn't make it to the hiring event but are interested in joining the ranks of the South Carolina Highway Patrol, click here.