Local residents seem unwilling to pay higher municipal taxes to finance their own police forces and "about a quarter of the more than 4,500 enlisted state police are now eligible for their pensions," Pratt writes. "Currently, the number of cadets graduating from the State Police Academy isn’t enough to make up for retirements, even though last year 406 cadets were graduated—the highest number in a decade. This year, a cadet cheating scandal is expected to pull down the number of academy graduates. In March, 48 cadets graduated after 36 were dismissed following an investigation into alleged cheating. Overall, officials expect about 373 cadets to graduate in 2016, subject to normal attrition rates."
State Police spokeswoman Maria Finn said "if the state budget would allocate more money, class size could be increased, more classes could be added, and more cadets could be graduated," Pratt writes. Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf's 2015-16 fiscal year budget included adding more than 350 state troopers, but a clash with Republican lawmakers killed that proposal. (Read more)