Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) is an important part of public safety in the state. Troopers drive around the state, keep an eye out for dangerous drivers and chase down criminals on the run.
But since December, each trooper has been dealing with a 100-mile driving limit per shift as part of cuts to save the department money.
We dont condone breaking the law, but until recently, theoretically, a trooper who just started his or her shift could chase you about 100 miles and then have to hit the breaks and head back to the office since you wasted all their miles for the day.
On May 31, Gov. Mary Fallin signed a $6.8 billion budget bill that minimized cuts to core services, reported KFOR.com. So the agencys money problems have been partially relieved for now, at least and the mileage restrictions were lifted.
In addition to the mileage restrictions, troopers were looking at possible furloughs, which are now off the table.
With 26 percent of an already-strained workforce considering retirement, furloughs would have been devastating to our ranks, OHP chief Ricky Adams told KFOR.com. I also want to extend my genuine gratitude to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority for funding the 64th OHP Academy in 2016 and now the 65th OHP Academy in 2018. Without this partnership, our losses though retirements, injury, and deaths would be completely demoralizing.
Tulsa World reported that the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority (OTA) gave OHP $5 million to fund its 2018 training academy, which will add 28-30 troopers to its ranks and make Oklahoma highways safer.
Adams said OHP currently employs 790 state troopers, the minimum number the state needs is 960 and, ideally, OHP needs 1,104 troopers.
Maybe we could all do OHP a favor and stop driving like lunatics for a little while at least until its 2018 training academy class graduates and dons their uniforms.