Fallin Wants Lawmakers To Improve Funding For OHP
OKLAHOMA CITY, Oklahoma - At her State of the State address Monday, Governor Mary Fallin singled out the Oklahoma Highway Patrol in her address before lawmakers.
She plans to address concerns that have been building for months, and wants lawmakers to fund the OHP adequately so they can hold an academy next year, and also lift the 100-mile patrol restriction that's in place.
Fallin made sure to highlight the budget constraints facing OHP, also saying more than a quarter of the 799 troopers are eligible for retirement.
She said lawmakers need to fund a trooper academy and give the OHP enough money so it can lift the 100-mile a day limit on patrol.
"My budget accommodates these issues. The best thing about investing in public safety is not just investing in the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, public safety is also about investing in ways to be smarter on crime and tough on true criminals," Fallin said.
DPS Commissioner Michael Thompson said, “For her to highlight us and talk about the critical need of the highway patrol, we're very encouraged by that."
Thompson said a new academy needs to happen for 2019 otherwise his troopers will be stretched too thin.
"Our state has had a tremendous growth, but the highway patrol hasn't kept pace," he said.
Fallin highlighted the OHP's success with honoring the troopers who stopped fugitive Michael Vance - those troopers received a standing ovation from the assembly.
"At the end of the day, as long as we can be included in this conversation, all I can do is tell our story, because I don't want us to go down the road where we're approaching a crisis and no one be aware of it," Thompson said.
The commissioner said the OHP is smaller than ever - right now it has fewer troopers than officers with Oklahoma City Police Department, but, again, troopers have to patrol the entire state.