Her eyes peering out from under a wide-brimmed Washington State Patrol trooper hat, Chelsea Krotzer recounts the day she helped rush blood to where it was needed for an emergency transfusion.
She became the middle link in a relay of Patrol cruisers, ferrying the blood from county to county, zooming down a foggy highway, racing against time.
“You never know what you’re gonna do when you come in to work,” Krotzer says in the recruiting ad, one of a series of billboard and radio spots featured, along with her photo, on the agency’s website. “It’s never routine. There’s nothing routine about being a trooper.”
Krotzer’s story is one of a half-dozen trooper testimonials the Washington State Patrol is using to drum up interest among a younger generation to take up a career in state law enforcement.
The marketing efforts are also a race against time. Beset with challenges that include a graying of the force, and trouble recruiting and retaining troopers who can earn higher pay in other local law-enforcement agencies, the State Patrol faces a staffing shortage in field operations, which covers thousands of miles of state highways.
There were 106 vacancies as of Oct. 30 — out of a total 671 positions, according to the Patrol. The average monthly number of unfilled positions has risen each year since 2009, the Seattle Times reports.