The Department of Public Safety has confirmed that the agency is considering furloughing State Troopers and DPS employees across Oklahoma after losing several million dollars in budget cuts the last two years. This will adversely affect the Department’s core functions, including the number of Troopers available.
DPS is considering the possibility of 23 furlough days that will affect both Troopers and civilian employees. Also affected could be driver license testing and implied consent hearings. DPS Commissioner Michael Thompson has submitted a $12 million budget supplement appropriations plan to State Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger.
As a courtesy, Governor Fallin, Lt. Governor Lamb and members of the Legislative leadership were provided a copy of the request. Without this budget supplement, DPS will not be able to maintain the present levels of staffing and operations, which are already at a reduced level.
“I am very optimistic that the leadership will recognize the urgency of this request and move forward to support public safety as they always have,” Thompson said. DPS has already taken many steps to reduce expenditures, including allowing VOBO offers to approximately 50 DPS and OHP employees.
DPS has also implemented a freeze on hiring new employees or replacing approximately 27 outgoing employees, suspended the upgrade of the new 800 MHz radio system (approximately 35,000 devices) for statewide emergency responders, and delayed the upgrade of the Department’s aging computer and technology network.
“We are working with the Governor’s office and Legislature on building the needed support for the requested $12 million supplement, as the ongoing mission of public safety in Oklahoma is dependent on it,” said OHP Chief Rick Adams. “This budget supplement is the minimum necessary to allow the OHP and DPS to maintain the current level of services to the public.”