State police speed up recruitment

(October 10, 2003) - (Little Rock-AP) -- Arkansas State police are launching a new recruiting drive. Colonel Don Melton says the department is undermanned and has formed a recruitment team led by a former Marine Corps recruiter. The force is also increasing pay and benefits. The department had been hemorrhaging officers to the ranks of city police departments, which paid better. Melton says help is not on the way yet. The department has space in its academy barracks for 55 trainees, but six weeks into the academy class, only 19 troopers-in-training remain. The initial interest is there, but family concerns or inability to handle the physical and psychological rigors of police work weeds out most of the 18-hundred prospects each year. This year, only half showed up for the test, just 54 passed and 28 of those were hired as trooper trainees.