BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It’s something you may not have realized, but if you’re stranded on the side of the road, you can get free help from a state trooper.
By dialing *47 it will direct you to the state trooper dispatch center and they’ll send out a trooper to help you. In addition to the regular gear in patrol cars, troopers carry a mini mechanic shop that includes tools to change or plug a tire.
They say it’s part of the job. “We change hundreds of tires a year. We add hundreds of gallons of gas to vehicles a year because you’d be surprised how many people drive past a gas station and run out of gas,” said Corporal Steve Smith.
The service is available on state and U.S. highways and help response time is dropping now that more troopers are being hired.
“If I was the only trooper in Jefferson County a year ago, the chances of you seeing me if you were broken down were slim, unless I was called to dispatch to you. Now with more troopers out to patrol, obviously we’ll be able to support more motorist assists more effectively," said Corporal Smith.
Alabama law enforcement officials hired more than 55 new troopers at the end of 2019. They hope to add at least 50 more this fiscal year.
You can also turn on your flashers to alert a passing trooper that you’re in need of help. If they pass you, they may be responding to a more serious incident, but you can also dial that *47 number to get a direct dispatch.