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, reports the Tribune-Review.

"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.