State Police Not Immune to Budget Cuts
By Stateline Staff
State police agencies have been propped up with the help of federal stimulus money, but that doesn't mean they are immune to budget cuts. In Tennessee, 13 small counties soon could have no state troopers at all. Pennsylvania is worried that it will not be able to replace retiring officers.
The head of the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association on Monday (Dec. 28) said the state is facing "a crisis like we've never seen before," the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported . The current state budget includes no money for a new class of state police cadets; the troopers' association is worried that the lack of new officers will dramatically thin out the ranks when others retire.
"If no cadet class graduates next year, and another wave of retirements takes place in 2010, there likely would be fewer troopers at the end of Gov. Ed Rendell's two terms in office than there were when he became governor in 2003," the Tribune-Review reported, citing a lobbyist for the state troopers. Among the solutions being proposed is a $10 surcharge on traffic violations that would help fund state police training.
In Tennessee, 13 counties would have to rely on neighboring counties for police assistance if a 9-percent budget cut proposed by Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) moves forward, The Associated Press reported.
"The Tennessee Highway Patrol has 553 road troopers this year, compared with 590 in 1977 when there were almost 2 million fewer people living in the state," the AP noted.
The head of the Alabama Department of Public Safety also recently pleaded for state lawmakers not to cut his budget, which includes the state police, the Montgomery Advertiser reported. Col. Chris Murphy noted that Alabama state police have helped reduce the fatality rate on Alabama roads by 35 percent - twice the national average - and said budget cuts would lead to cuts in service and fewer troopers on the road.