Ky. State Police Tackling Funding Cuts
Posted: Jul 1, 2012 3:22 PM
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) – Kentucky State Police are curtailing some operations and searching for more efficient ways to perform other duties to deal with high gas prices and a 2.4 percent cut in state funding.
Lt. David Jude said the agency is still hiring and training new troopers and aren’t reducing their ability to respond to emergency calls. Jude told The Messenger-Inquirer that the things people "would associated with the Kentucky State Police" haven’t been impacted.
"Credit goes to the governor for … not making a much deeper cut than that," Judge said.
There are currently about 900 troopers on the force, roughly the same number the agency had in the 1970s. That number of troopers is adequate because technology has made patrol work more efficient, with troopers able to file citations electronically, Jude said. Jude said the agency recently acquired equipment, through grants, that greatly reduces the amount of time troopers spend mapping highway accidents.
The goal is to use technology as a way to "improve performance with the manpower we got," Jude said.
Trooper Corey King, public information officer for the state police post in Henderson, said the budget means the post will likely not use a helicopter this year when doing sweeps for marijuana patches.
"We have to prioritize things," King said. "We’re cutting a little here and there – and flight time (for marijuana eradication) is part of that – to make sure safety and (response) is No. 1."
In addition to the budget cuts, high fuel prices have affected the operations at the Henderson post, King said.
"We go through a lot of fuel and we patrol a lot of areas. We’ll have to sacrifice in other proactive areas" so the emphasis can remain on taking priority calls, King said.
Jude said troopers are identifying areas where there are known traffic issues and are setting up checkpoints on those roads, rather than actively patrolling those areas.
"We would challenge the post commanders to fund the appropriate place for checkpoints," Jude said. "It’s not a decision to park your car and not use gas – it’s a more efficient way to do what you’re doing."
While some vacant positions have been unfilled, the state police are still hiring for trooper positions, Jude said.
"We’re fortunate to run a cadet class every year," Jude said. "If you look at … Kansas and Georgia, some of those states haven’t had a cadet class in years."