High gas prices are forcing law enforcement agencies to consider changes to their budget or operations.
“I'm sure it's starting to cripple some of these agencies out here,” Tecumseh Police Department chief J.R. Kidney said. “I don't know how long that we can keep going like that.”
According to AAA, regular gas and diesel prices in Oklahoma average $4.507 and $5.224, respectively, a roughly 50% increase in both from the price one year ago.
Kidney said his agency has likely doubled its gas budget for 2022, forcing him to ask his officers to conserve gas. Otherwise, he said the agency may have to limit patrols.
“I have asked them, anytime they can kill that car and not have it running and save gas, to do it and help us,” Kidney said. “There’s not a whole lot that you can do other than ask the guys not to patrol, spend more time at the office, and if we have to do that, our citizens suffer. So I hope that we don't reach that point.”
Trooper Eric Foster with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol said the Department of Public Safety has had to pull funding from different budgets to make up the high gas cost.
The department uses about 100,000 gallons of gas a month, Foster said. The DPS has pulled funding from civilian divisions so it does not have to restrict gas use by troopers.
“I've got to try to make city hall happy, I've got to make the citizens happy and I've got to make the officers happy,” Kidney said. “They're not going to like me, if they're turning off the air conditioner and rolling down the windows in this 100-degree heat.”