Oklahoma Highway Patrol authorities are warning the public about just what’s at stake if the agency has to absorb a 15-percent budget cut.
It a press conference on Thursday, officials said the cut could force 24 driver’s license stations to close throughout the state, and create four weeks of furloughs for current employees. It could also end the OHP motorcycle division altogether.
“OHP is a mission oriented org. I want to say, regardless of what budget it dealt to us, we are going to accomplish the mission,” said OHP Chief of Patrol, Col. Rick Adama.
According to OHP, with 795 troopers currently serving, the agency is still 154 troopers understaffed. Twenty-six percent of the current staff is also eligible for retirement at any time.
The budget cuts could end the trooper training academy, which would mean there would be no replacements coming in. Additionally, 51 positions have already been slashed in the current fiscal year in order to meet current budget requirements.
“We are passionate guardians of Oklahoma’s safety. We are your public servants. We will serve the state of Oklahoma,” Adama said.
The 15-percent cut is not set in stone, but the agency just wants to let the public know what could happen if the worst was to happen.