LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kentucky State Police is about 300 troopers short statewide, and with a limited amount of time, they are struggling to fill the newest cadet class.

"Our agencies mission goal is highway safety, so on top of being out in the county, we're expected to be out here also," said Tpr. Mitch Hazelett as he sat along I-71 Tuesday.

Hazelett graduated from the cadet program four years ago. He started with 93 recruits, but only 63 graduated.

"If you're not used to that discipline, it kind of bothers you," he said.

The rigorous 23-week training period is one factor in a recruitment problem at KSP, but spokesperson Tpr. Brad Arterburn says its more than that.

Arterburn cites recent media coverage of officer involved deaths, and society's current view of law enforcement as factors.

"You talk to people, and they think, why would I want to do a job where even if I do my job correctly I'm going to be judged harshly, scrutinized and made to look like the bad guy," he said.

Plus, a requirement of either 60 college credits, two years in the military, or two years in law enforcement, keep many from applying.

"Honestly, that rules out a lot of people," he said. "It does hurt us, but we aren't going to lower our standards just to cast a wider net."

To try and fill the void in a short amount of time, KSP added a cadet class in November. But the class isn't even halfway full, and enrollment is coming to a close December 31.

"At the end of the day, you need to look at yourself in the mirror and say, I did something that mattered. I'm proud of what I did. And if you want that, come be a Kentucky State Trooper," said Arterburn.

Starting pay for a Kentucky State Trooper starts around $40,000 a year, with opportunities for growth.

For more information on joining the Kentucky State Police, visit KSP's website.

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