The Kansas Highway Patrol has cut the number of miles that troopers spend traveling state highways by 10 percent, in response to the state’s economic pinch.
While you may notice fewer KHP troopers driving on the roads, the officers are now spending more of their time parked along the side of the road hunting for traffic violators.
Reducing mileage —to save money on gas — is one of several temporary cost-saving measures the highway patrol is taking to reduce state expenditures.
“The economic situation has really forced us, and many other agencies, to reduce costs where we can,” said Trooper Edna Buttler, KHP spokeswoman. “Fuel usage was one of the highest … costs that we had, so that was naturally one of the better choices to make.”
Under the request, a trooper who normally drives 3,000 miles a month has been asked to reduce mileage by 300. Details about how much money the fuel reduction would save the state was not immediately available Wednesday.
Buttler said officers would still respond to calls for help and didn’t intend to issue any fewer tickets.
“The patrol continues to manage its resources so we can provide the level of service that is expected of us and still respond where we are needed,” she said.
The KHP, which employs more than 800 workers across the state, is also taking several other cost-saving measures:
• Patrol vehicles will receive oil changes every 5,000 miles, instead of every 3,000 miles.
• The law enforcement agency will not purchase any new or replacement uniforms.
• Troopers will share rides to and from training.
• Out-of-state travel will be limited.
The measures come amid four rounds of spending cuts the state has made this year to prevent a budget deficit from developing.
“We’re finding every means possible to reduce costs, just like every other agency that’s been asked to bear this burden,” Buttler said.
In addition, troopers are asking drivers to help them keep the roads safe, so there will be less demand on their services, by doing simple things like following the rules of the road, wearing seat belts, using turn signals and not using cell phones while driving.