By Wyatt Goolsby
MIDLAND - A booming oil industry means plenty of high paying jobs to go around, but it also means less officers to patrol the streets. Texas Rangers and State Troopers say more and more officers are leaving for a bigger paycheck.
Saturday, the Texas Rangers will be celebrating the retirement of one of their veteran members: Captain Barry Caver. Caver's been an officer for over 29 years. Now, he like many other Rangers and Troopers, is taking a job working for an oil business. However, since Captain Caver isn't the only one, members of the Texas Rangers say that means a constant adjustment.
"We're losing people left and right, and with the salaries these people can pay and the expertise that they have, with all these certifications, I mean these Troopers are making quite a salary," Lieutenant Robert Bullock, with the Texas Rangers, said.
Lt. Bullock said it's not just the restaurants and retail businesses that are losing out to big oil. He said while the state could up the salary, it's still just too hard to compete with private business.
"We work for the State, you're not in this job to become rich, you're in this job because you love people, and you care about people, and you want to see communities vibrant and healthy and not overrun with thugs and crooks," Lt. Bullock explained.
He said the Texas Rangers have about 130 members. Many leave for higher paying jobs after years as part of the service, like Captain Caver. While authorities plan to honor Caver for all his work, they also realize just how hard it will be to replace him.
"When you lose one Ranger Sergeant, or one Ranger Lieutenant, or one Ranger Captain, it's devastating, in a lot of ways," Lt. Bullock said. "Each one of these men cover anywhere from three to five counties. It's a tremendous amount of experience walking out that door, when a Ranger Sergeant, Lieutenant leaves."
Lieutenant Bullock also said because they don't have enough experienced officers, it does slow down their response time and stretches resources. However, members of the Texas Rangers and State Troopers said they will continue to recruit to increase their size.