Public concerns for OHP budget cuts - TULSA-- Oklahoma Highway Patrol Troopers said Rogers County has some of the most dangerous roads in the state. With the new 100-mile-per-day limit on troopers, some residents are worried about their safety.
“We need highway patrolmen to be able to be on the scene of these things and help out,” said Resident Mabel Salazar.
Hazel Ward said she relies on highway patrol to stop drivers from speeding by her business on Route 66 in Rogers County.
“You can look out and see people flying who are headed home or headed to work,” said Ward.
Now that troopers can only travel up to 100 miles per day, OHP officials say fewer troopers will be monitoring the roads.
“You want to be able to go out and do your job, but you’re not going to be able to,” said Trooper Edwin Weilert.
If troopers travel over their daily limit, the new rules say they have to deduct those miles from their 100 maximum for the next day.
“If they travel 150 today traveling to crashes, then that’s 50 miles less they can travel tomorrow for any pro-active enforcement that they made need to do,” said Oklahoma Highway Patrol Troop B Cpt. Jason Holt.
Troopers said the new requirement will be especially difficult in Rogers County, where just 7 troopers patrol 1,333 miles of road.
“Sometimes you could be in Inola working an accident and then get another call in Chelsea or Tallulah, it’s just a long way to travel,” said Trooper Weilert.
Troopers said they’ve already worked 3,000 crashes in Troop B this year, and many of those crashes were in Rogers County. Ward said with all the restrictions, she worries for her safety.
“You always hope that if you’re in trouble, you’ll have someone who will be there to help ya,” said Ward.
The cuts aren’t just impacting Troopers on the road, OHP aircraft will now only fly for emergencies. Troopers say the new 100-mile limit goes into effect December 1st and will last until June 30th.