The South Carolina Highway Patrol celebrated its 85th birthday Tuesday, with Department of Archives and History director Eric Emerson pulling from its vaults the original act that created the Patrol in 1930. The Highway Patrol has grown from 69 “Patrolmen,” as they were called until the 1980s, to 782 full-time troopers on the roads today. But that’s still short of the 980 troopers the Patrol had before the recession in 2008. The Patrol is now recruiting new troopers to try to catch up.
“We’ve had classes twice a year for the last several years,” says Col. Mike Oliver, SC Highway Patrol Commander. “We’ve been able to keep up with attrition. We’re going to move to three classes a year in 2016, 2017, try to get ahead a little bit.”
The Patrol plans to train a new class of 55 starting in July, and hopes for 55 more in each of three classes next year and the year after.
Having fewer troopers on the roads means a longer response time if you have an accident or call the Patrol to report an unsafe driver. It also means longer traffic jams after wrecks, since the average response time statewide is about 30 minutes. If you’re interested in becoming a state trooper, you can learn more about the requirements and benefits, and apply online, by clicking here.