State Police Say More Troopers Are Needed To Combat Drunk Driving

BOSTON (CBS) – The Registry of Motor Vehicles says the number of drunken driving arrests in Massachusetts has declined in the past five years.

Fewer drunken driving arrests sounds encouraging, but it may not be that people are wising up, and sobering up before they drive.

State Police spokesman David Procopio says they’ve lost about 500 troopers through attrition since 2006.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Laurie Kirby reports

The registry found there were roughly 14,800 OUI offenses last year, down 3,000 since 2008.

Procopio says State Police have not wavered one bit in their commitment to getting drunk drivers of the roads before they kill an innocent person or themselves.

He says they need more state troopers on the road to combat drunken driving, which is one of the most important priorities of the department. He hopes a new class of recruits this fall will remedy the hundreds of state troopers lost through attrition over the last few years.

More from Laurie Kirby
  • K

    Here’s a thought. Instead of having 5 troopers sitting, reading the newspaper on 93 on a stretch less than 3 miles or, instead of having 1 trooper permanently parked at the rt 1A light in East Boston “regulating” traffic, send them out.

    Now take all the troopers on details statewide off detail work and there is probably 1 or 2 that could sit in Dorchester & Jamaica Plain

    If they are gonna sit anyway, let them be visible in high crime areas instead of guarding traffic cones

    Just my two cents

    • Italo

      Amen, baby.

  • pighater

    There are no troopers on the road because they are too busy working unneeded details

  • gcc034

    Troopers are actually taking a pay cut when they work details! And maybe we should pay then a decent wage and they won’t have to work details! And pighater, we have you ip address!

    • Matt Bailey

      You are only half correct. Yes their detail wage is less than their regular and overtime sallary. Datails are done on there “time off” in addition to there regular work schedule. This is the maine reason some of the polise salary is up over 100K for many of them. But details are paid for but whom ever they are watching do the work.

  • Jane O

    we don’t need more troopers or more laws, and let’s not blame the troopers for so many drunks being on the roads. Put the blame where it belongs: on a failed judicial system that caters to and protects habitual offenders, a system that puts drunks right back on the roads as soon as they sober up. We need judges willing to send drunks away for MANDATORY jail sentences starting with the first DUI offense.

  • B

    Gcc034, you sound like a cop and that sounds like a threat. Alot of paid details are usually “extra” work for most cops in addition to normal work hours. Also one out of ten state troopers made more than the $140k than the governor makes and 225 made just under $140k. This is not to mention the pensions that WE will pay when most decide to retire at the age of 55. Seems like a tough situation when most people can barely pay for food and bills and are looking at working until age 70-80.

    • roadbowler

      Wealth is not a zero sum game. Joe Blow making a good salary isn’t the reason the poor can’t eat. Everyone is born with the same opportunities in life. Some people make it, some lag behind. We can’t save everyone. Ever heard of Darwin???

      • response

        Everyone is not born with the same oppertunities in life.
        Children born to parents without money do not have the same oppertunities as children born with money.
        But that does not mean people cannot make their own oppertunities.
        As for the Drunk Drivers – mandatory jail for one year on first offense…not more state police.

  • msw

    No additional troopers – we need to cut wasteful tax dollar spending. Remove them from all details and replace them with flag men/women so they can be out doing what their being paid for. And mandatory jail sentences for drunk drivers beginning with the first offense is a much more logical deterrent than putting more overpaid lazy troopers on the road.

  • K


    Granted, a better screen name could have been chosen, but we are pighaters because we don’t appreciate this gross mismanagement of state funds and taxpayer money ?

    I can’t speak on the behalf of “pighater” but I will have you know that I am big supporter of not only the MA State Police but that of Local Law Enforcement and Sheriff’s Departments.

    I believe that they do a fine job and few have the guts to do what they do every single day.

    But if even the State Police is coming out and saying they need more troopers to combat crime, I, as a taxpayer, deserve the right to air my dissatisfaction with the way they run their current force.

    If a senseless gun crime in Dorchester could be avoided if a trooper was driving up and down the streets there, he does more good doing that that sitting at cone on 93 in Somerville

    I have never understood the reasoning for police officers at construction sites. If you travel the country, you won’t see much of that around except for here.

    And the argument that it keeps the construction workers safer, I challenge with the statement that the only ones getting hurt at construction sites are in fact – troopers and police officers. We hear about it constantly – yet we don’t hear about Joe Construction Worker at a non detail site getting hurt. Why is that ?

    And I will support “B” that it is not such a financial burden for any officer to do details. It is usually overtime meaning double time or at least time and a half.
    There is a reason why detail work is given out to officers based on seniority.

    • jaygee

      Could not have been said any better. Too bad that such reason couldn’t be used by our so-called “leaders”.

      • K

        They tried, but the unions were too powerful.

        Be that as it may – there are plenty of resources to be used, it is how they are used that is wrong.

        Agencies turns to the statehouse for standards in such matters, but since they at the State House can’t seem to go from A to B without zig zagging throughout the rest of the alphabet, it is a cause doomed to fail

  • Dave_D

    How about all the State Police doing “urban” police work on the MDC lands and roads (in Boston, Revere, Quincy, Medford, etc.)? Turn the real police work over to the (much) more competent local police departments. The “Staties” could then drive around in their (air conditioned!) cars all they needed to.

    Also, like others on this thread, I am disgusted every time a see a parked State Police vehicle at road work sites. Some time the state should ponder why the word “mobile” is contained in the word “automobile”. A parked State Police car is a complete waste of money.

    Feel free to track me down, and I’ll say the same to your face

  • Denise

    If I remember correctly – I think paid details are paid by the company that is doing the work.. it’s not coming out of the normal salary structure. But I do agree I often go by details where there are a number of officers (state or not) and they’re in a group – chatting amongst each other – or looking in the hole that was dug – not often facing the traffic and telling people to slow down. To get hit by a car – I would think you would have your back to the oncoming traffic… and at night… those damn lights are blinding – and the rubberneckers are out in force day or night causing people to rearend each other! Park on the on ramps to Rt 2! You’ll get plenty of people that believe YIELD means (Yes I Endanger Lives Daily) – Greenfield currently has a little rebel group out there provoking their Police deparment w/ I didn’t hurt anyone theories – so maybe they’ll take up the cause of those drunk drivers that get caught but don’t “hurt anyone”.. DUI is a fatality waiting to happen! Unfortunately it’s usually the person that isn’t drunk that gets killed. And if the Police are working details on their own time – who cares if they consider it their 2nd job – it takes time away from their friends and family just like anyone that works a 2nd job… maybe they have a high maintenance lifestyle or significant other and need the $$….

    • K

      I will grant you that yes, the common detail is paid for by the construction company doing the work. So not really an expense to the taxpayer, or is it ?….

      1) The details takes place in State owned equipment – the cars
      2) The details takes place with state “owned” manpower – the officer

      Never mind that

      If the construction company is paying for the detail officers salary, what then when the detail takes place on a State road such as 93 or say, the tunnels ?

      You honestly don’t believe that the construction companies, even if they are paying for those troopers, haven’t built that cost into the bill they are sending to the state for their services do you ?

      One way or the other. Be that state paid, city paid or construction crew paid detail, you, I and the other taxpayers are paying for it.

      All I am saying is. If these officers aren’t too tired to work extra, offer them full salary, even double time for all I care and send them to ex Dorchester.

      I don’t mind paying to them, don’t mind paying more to them. But I want some return on my investment. I am not getting that now.

    • Dave_D

      “I think paid details are paid by the company doing the work”… True enough. But, if the state is paying a contractor to fix a road and the contractor is forced to pay for a detail, who do you think ultimately pays for it? (go look in the mirror).

      If NSTAR has to pay for a detail every time they fix something, who do you think ultimately pays (if you are an NSTAR customer, go look in a mirror)

      And it isn’t just the high cost of the police detail. Police details aren’t under the direct control of the construction company. Most job foremen don’t have the “cojones” to confront a chatty cop to stop him from distracting his workers. This drives up costs.. And it happens all the time. Detail officers are the bane of utility workers’ existence.

      I wonder how many road construction sites are rendered unsafe because of the reluctance of the foremen (who are very concerned with site safety) to confront a cop. (“Hey, officer, that isn’t a great place to stand while you are scratching your butt”).

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