Pa. state police looking to fill 500 job openings

The state police are looking to bolster the department's contingent of troopers and liquor enforcement officers

By Paul Peirce

PITTSBURGH — The Pennsylvania State Police are recruiting candidates to fill about 500 job vacancies to bolster the department's contingent of troopers and liquor enforcement officers.

"There are plenty of openings for those interested," said liquor enforcement officer Glen A. Titler of the Pittsburgh District office. "We've had a shortage for awhile."

State residents have less than three weeks to apply for the openings, which offer beginning annual salaries of $42,700 for a liquor control officer and $58,962 for a trooper.

The Bureau of Liquor Enforcement, which is part of the state police, is accepting applications for the next qualification examination to become liquor enforcement officers, while state police are seeking applicants for trooper candidates for the next cadet class. Both deadlines are Dec. 31.

Cpl. Adam Reed, spokesman for the state police, said its trooper ranks are 477 below the full complement of about 4,700. With seven liquor enforcement trainees set to graduate Wednesday, 23 openings remaining there, Reed said.

"We also have a cadet class of just over 100 troopers scheduled to graduate Friday, so that will bring that number down too," he said. Reed noted that state police have not been at their full complement "for several years," mostly as a result of retirements.

Reed said interest among men and women who want to become state troopers has "not really wavered," despite an increase in violence against police.

"We still have experienced a fairly strong demand ... as witnessed by the over 100 cadets slated to graduate," Reed said.

Prospective candidates for both positions are required to complete training at the state police academy in Hershey once they pass entrance examinations, Titler said.

"The Bureau of Liquor Enforcement academy is four months, versus about six months to become a trooper," Titler said.

Liquor enforcement officers conduct undercover and open-enforcement investigations, inspect licensed establishments suspected of violating liquor laws, conduct criminal investigations for illegal manufacturing and sales of alcohol, and seize illegal items. They must be able to prepare citations, criminal complaints and warrants, as well as testify in court.

State troopers provide primary police coverage in more than 1,200 municipalities statewide and patrol all interstate highways. Those duties include uniformed patrol, crash investigation, criminal investigation and incident responses.

While the duties of a liquor enforcement officer may not be as dangerous as a trooper's, they are in harm's way at times.

In September, a liquor control officer on an underage drinking patrol in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh was injured when he was struck in his head by an Erie man. Max Swahn, 20, is awaiting trial in Allegheny County Common Pleas Court on charges of aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, criminal mischief and underage drinking.

Both jobs have physical prerequisites.

After the written exam, trooper candidates must pass an oral exam, physical readiness test, polygraph test, background investigation and medical and psychological evaluations to be appointed a cadet.

They must have completed at least 60 semester credit hours at an accredited college or university to be accepted into the academy, unless they have four years of previous law enforcement experience or four years of military service.

For a liquor enforcement officer, applicants must be at least 20 years old and have a high school diploma or GED, U.S. citizenship, a valid driver's license and Pennsylvania residency upon graduation.

Both positions pay trainees during their time at the academy.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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