Texas facing hundreds of DPS trooper vacancies

McALLEN, Texas (AP) _ A Texas program is meant to boost the law enforcement presence along the border with Mexico by temporarily reassigning troopers from other parts of the state. An audit by a state commission found that Operation Border Star contributed to the Department of Public Safety "critical personnel shortage, weakening its ability to protect the public.'' Gov. Rick Perry started Operation Border Star in 2007 to help combat drug smuggling and other border crime. The McAllen Monitor reports there are currently more than 300 vacancies for commissioned DPS officers. DPS in September expects to add 80 troopers statewide from an upcoming class of recruits. DPS spokesman Tim Vinger said Operation Border Star can't be blamed for the vacancies. During the past four years, legislators have created more than 266 new commissioned officer positions. DPS loses about 200 commissioned officers annually through retirements, terminations and voluntary attrition.  ___

Information from: The McAllen Monitor, http://www.themonitor.com