Nearly four dozen veteran Massachusetts State Police troopers are being reassigned from specialty units to barracks to help patrol streets amid a staffing shortage, according to a local report.
An internal memo obtained by NBC 10 Boston shows 46 state troopers will be pulled from their current roles as the department expects to lose between 200 to 250 troopers this year.
"This is the first time I've seen this in my career," Sgt. Mike Cherven, a 25-year veteran of the state police and president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, told NBC 10 in an interview. "I think we need more troopers and we need them now."
He pointed to anti-police sentiment among the public and increasing retirements after several scandals rocked the department as part of the reasoning behind the staffing shortage. He also told the outlet that many people looking to work in law enforcement seek jobs at local police departments that offer higher pay for higher education backgrounds.
A class of 172 new state trooper trainees are expected to graduate in October, but they will not be able to completely offset this year's staff losses, according to NBC 10.
"These numbers represent very real staffing challenges," Col. Christopher Mason wrote in the memo. "As you know, when staffing reaches this level, the ability to use time off, officer wellness, forced shifts and increased backfill overtime costs are all negatively impacted."