Gov. Ted Kulongoski has signed a $14 million boost in the two-year
Oregon State Police budget. However, it trims 20 troopers from roads in the
That will leave 309 troopers patrolling the state’s roads – the fewest
in nearly 40 years.
New money for the department is earmarked for murder investigations and
the state’s methamphetamine problem.
According to The Oregonian newspaper,
the trooper cuts are necessary, due to increasing costs elsewhere in the
budget, such as fuel, equipment and pension benefits.
State Police officials said they would need an additional $4.3 million
to hire 45 troopers to patrol Interstate 5 round-the-clock. Ninety new troopers
would be needed to patrol the entire state 24 hours a day.
State lawmakers have told agency officials they can appeal to the
Legislature’s Emergency Board for additional dollars.
Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, who steered the budget through
the House, has offered one solution for state police; he is encouraging the
agency to identify troopers now at desk jobs who might be put back on the
However, the Oregon State Police Officers Association said it’s not
“I want to clarify this right now: There are no troopers driving desks
who could be on the road,” Dan Swift, president of the police group, told the Statesman Journal. “Someone has to do
paperwork and watch over evidence lockers. Those jobs have to be done – and
troopers are now doing those jobs.”