Oklahoma Troopers say they need raises

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Updated: 3/18/2013 10:16 am Published: 3/15/2013 8:56 pm

Oklahoma is hitting a critical shortage with troopers and the agency hopes the state can help change that.

State Representative Jeff Hickman introduced the trooper-pay bill. It passed the Oklahoma House 90-0. 

"We are absolutely in a dire situation," said Trooper Betsy Randolph.

She says the Oklahoma Highway Patrol is already experiencing shortages and that could get worse with 218 troopers eligible for retirement right now.

Almost 100 more are eligible over the next five years.
Randolph told FOX23 by phone OHP doesn't have enough cadets coming in to fill that gap.

"If we don't do something within the next few years our numbers are going to go so low, we're not going to be adequately able to handle operations," she added.

Already, a single trooper may be responsible for patrolling three counties.

Troopers haven't seen a raise since 2007.  The starting pay of about $33-thousand isn't attracting enough applicants. In fact it's the lowest salary among the surrounding states: Colorado, Arkansas, Kansas, Texas and Missouri. Colorado pays the most at more than $43-thousand a year.

"Ten years ago we would attract a couple thousand applicants for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy and that number is more in the hundreds now," said Hickman.

He is hoping the bill can increase the starting salaries from $33-thousand to more than $38-thousand a year.

"If we don't do something now we'll have 200 troopers on the road,” said Randolph. That's unacceptable."

The bill would also increase the pay for troopers who complete their probation period to more than $44-thousand
a year. The bill now heads to the senate.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Mayor Maynot - 3/16/2013 2:12 PM
0 Votes
Or the massacre on the WR Turnpike just outside Miami :-( OHP had both lanes backed up on the westbound side. I can only imagine the terror in that poor drivers soul. If OHP would have had a better handle on traffic control that could have been prevented. That roadway is hilly I know. We could praise them for their fine training and sKILLs resources I personally have trouble finding the driver at fault when it is evident that it was due to the state's inability to control traffic in an emergency. He didn't really do it. It's more like what the OHP didn't do .?!.

Unwashed Mass - 3/16/2013 1:16 PM
3 Votes
Are you referring to Trooper William McClendon who did a U-turn in front of a semi, killing both himself and the truck driver? OHP claimed the truck was at fault. ...or the 2007 death of Tiffany Brown who had the misfortune of being in the path of trooper Justin Williams, who was speeding without his emergency lights?

Mayor Maynot - 3/16/2013 9:42 AM
1 Vote
Then there is the final memory of OHP Trooper Lt Green. Unable to abide by traffic laws, he pulled out in front of a dump truck that struck his cruiser, he killed himself. Poor driver training with NO respect for the road. Ultimately these slimy greaseballs will get their request. But they still need better drivers training #8^]]

Mayor Maynot - 3/16/2013 9:34 AM
2 Votes
Dirty sermon :-) even though the dispute was between OHP and EMSA individually it was OHP (white employee) vs EMSA (black employee). OHP could just be worthless dumb racial scum.

Mayor Maynot - 3/16/2013 9:23 AM
2 Votes
Hey what about the immoral OHP that mated Mary while she was the whip before she became governor. I'd say don't give them a raise till they can learn to beep their pistle in the right holster!!!

Unwashed Mass - 3/15/2013 11:02 PM
4 Votes
They are being paid much less than other state's troopers because they are worth much less than other states' troopers. The low application numbers aren't due to the pay, but rather because OHP has become a laughing stock in recent years. For example, OHP was caught with their pants down with the videotaped assault of an ambulance driver who was carrying a heart patient to a hospital. Rather than face the music, OHP leadership decided to tell one lie after another to deflect blame. The department has deteriorated badly over the years, and a pay raise wont fix the problems they have.
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