As budget talks continue under the capitol dome, agencies across the state are hoping to avoid potentially crippling cuts; almost none more so than the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP).
“Our particular organization is a definitely core function of government,” said OHP Chief Rick Adams.
According to Adams, his forces are down to bare bones. He said he has the same amount of officers since 1995, when Oklahoma's population was just over three million people. Today, that number is just below four million, but the number of troopers on the highway hasn't changed -- forcing some troopers to work back-to-back-to-back shifts, with no overtime pay.
“The current funding that we have right now is not enough to maintain what we got,” he said.
Adams added he's not asking for more dollars, he just wants to keep the funding that's already in place; hoping his agency will be able to scrape by for the safety of his troopers and Oklahoma drivers.
“Anytime we can't provide assistance to a local agency as quickly as they need it, it puts them at risk and anytime I have an officer out there and they're working over and over again shifts, it puts them at risk.”