NC Highway Patrol down about 160 troopers

BURLINGTON, N.C. (AP) - The North Carolina Highway Patrol hopes additional money and a slowdown in retirements will help it fill about 160 empty positions.

The Times-News of Burlington reports the open positions are 10 percent of the 1,600 troopers agency would like to have statewide.

The heaviest concentration of vacant posts is in rural areas and in the eastern and western parts of the state. Highway Patrol spokesman First Sgt. Jeff Gordon says it takes longer for troopers to respond to wrecks and they have less time to look for dangerous drivers.

Department of Public Safety officials hope to get more money this year to end a hiring freeze on 69 positions. Gordon says the Highway Patrol also has been hit by a wave of retirements of troopers hired in the 1980s.

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