state budget shortfall has reduced the number of officers by more
than a hundred, causing the OSP to worry about who will keep the
motoring public in compliance with the code of the road. In the
final days of Oregon's 2002 session, lawmakers were trying to
round up enough support to submit an income-tax increase to voters
in January that would raise $315 million to help fill the state's
came too late to provide help for a posse of Oregon's finest.
Last week, pink slips were issued to 131 state officers as well
as 29 other agency staff, according to a report in Salem's Statesman
Journal. The cuts are due to the state's $482 million budget shortfall.
State Police plan to cut $8.8 million from its two-year budget,
largely through the layoffs. The reduction of 131 patrol officers
is a 17 percent cut. It brings the number of troopers patrolling
Oregon's roads to 323.
the number of troopers was 655 in 1980; the last year the agency's
budget was part of the state highway fund. The budget then moved
to the general fund as the result of a ballot measure and has
been subject to cuts ever since.
impact will be huge," said Lt. Glenn Chastain, at state police
headquarters. "With fewer patrols and reduced visibility,
we anticipate there will be increased violations. That translates
to more crashes on the highways."
would make better sense to do away with some of the DOT inspectors
and keep those state troopers out there enforcing traffic laws,"
commented OOIDA Director of Regulatory Affairs, Rick Craig.