Incoming State Police trooper class included in budget cutbacks

News 8's Jacquie Slater speaks with Andy Matthews, President of the Connecticut State Police Union (WTNH / Jacquie Slater)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The Malloy administration has announced that the incoming State Police trooper class of 79 recruits will be deferred, as the state continues to take steps to balance the budget. The Connecticut State Police Union received word of the cut at a meeting this morning. President Andy Matthews says the cuts will continue to impact public safety.

“We have the same patrol staffing we had in the 1950’s and 60’s and without disclosing too much, we don’t have sufficient coverage on patrol,” said Matthews.

Last week it was announced 5 troopers would be laid off. Today another two sergeants are also being given notice. Since 2009 the Connecticut State Police force has dropped by more than 250.

“Look around the country. This is one of the most dangerous times for law enforcement. Ever. We had a hundred and I believe 36 officers killed in the line of duty last year,” said Matthews. “Crime might be down but when our back-up is so far away, you’re on your own.”

In addition to the trooper cuts for the first time ever the command staff is taking a hit.

“It’s a sad day for the history of the state police that the members that run this agency are making these decision.I hope they really reflect on what they’re doing to people’s lives,” said Captain Michael Thomas, President of the Commissioned Officers Association.

Captain Thomas says four lieutenants who have served with the State Police for between 12 and 18 years are being cut.

“Some of these individuals that are gonna be getting laid off have families, have children and now they need to go home tonight and tell their spouse and their children in four weeks they’re not gonna have a job,” said Captain Thomas.

Related: Municipal aid takes biggest hit in latest Malloy budget crisis plan

Midday Tuesday, News 8 spoke with Connecticut State Police Union President Andy Matthews Wednesday about the cutbacks to Troopers. He said the morale at the State Police is not good.

We continue to feel the effects of the Governor’s administration continuing to lay people off when they don’t want to give concessions regarding their wages. Last week, we were notified of five Trooper layoffs. Now, it’s five Troopers, two sergeants, and the entire [recruit] class of 79 that was due to go in before the end of the fiscal year.”

When asked how far along the recruits were in the hiring process to become State Troopers, Matthews said, “They completed the hiring process. They were scheduled to go into the academy before the end of the fiscal year, and now that appears that that is not going to happen. It’s a total of another 86 Troopers. Over the last eight years we’ve lost 253 Troopers, a reduction of 253 Troopers, and now it’s an additional 86.”

Matthews encouraged the public to contact their legislators about the reductions.

We’re really concerned about public safety. This is a serious matter of public concern; and the public should contact their legislators and express their concern over the reduction of Troopers.”

Related: Malloy: layoffs begun, legislative leaders don’t want to do hard things

It is unclear if this will conclude cuts within the Connecticut State Police, or if other cutbacks may be needed.

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