OHP troopers lobbying for increased manpower, funding

TULSA - Oklahoma state troopers say response times to emergencies are suffering because they're stretched thin.

Troopers tell 2NEWS they need more manpower out on the roads. But to do that, state lawmakers will have to approve more funding.

State troopers like Brian Warren patrol Oklahoma's highways every day with one goal -- to keep you safe on the road.

"With all the traffic and high volume, and the accidents we have, we're extremely low-manned up here. We need all of the help we can get," Warren said.

Warren says sometimes only one trooper covers two or three counties by themselves. And that's too far in an emergency.

"I could be at the far southeast corner of the county, and there could be a major accident or shooting in the northwestern part of the county. And it's going to take me an hour to get there," he said.

Troopers say they've been understaffed for years now, but it seems to be getting worse.

That's why the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety commissioner is requesting $7 million more for next year's budget, in hopes of getting raises for troopers and more eyes on the roads.

Officials say OHP is ranked 15th in the state for law enforcement agency pay.

"It makes it difficult to recruit. We're losing guys to retirement, and we don't have enough academies to make up for what we lost in retirement," Warren said.  

Trooper Warren believes having more co-workers would help them focus on safety.

"If we had more people, it [would] at least make a dent. And it would help out a lot," Warren said.

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