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Highway Patrol Reports Staff Shortage

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – The Missouri State Highway Patrol says it's difficult to retain staff because other police departments are offering more competitive pay and benefits.

The Patrol announced this week it has 88 positions open around the state. That includes 17 in the St. Louis district.

Captain Chris Ricks says Missouri's budget troubles are exacerbating the shortage.

"We have to make sure that the legislature and the people understand that something has to change," Ricks said. "We want to continue to be the finest law enforcement agency in the state, and to do that, we have to pay our officers to keep recruiting the best people for those positions."

Ricks says about a quarter of the vacancies are the result of troopers' military service.