Pay raise sought for Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers

Oklahoma Highway Patrol's pay ranks 15th in the state, public safety commissioner says.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: January 25, 2013
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Thompson said the patrol loses about 30 troopers a year; 226 troopers are eligible to retire.

“That's a pretty good chunk of our workforce,” Thompson said.

Vastly understaffed

Trooper numbers are down to a 22-year low of 770, he said. The patrol is authorized to have 925 troopers.

“We're asking these guys to do more and more every day,” Thompson said. “And our guys do it.”

Thompson said he was pleased the Legislature allocated $5 million last year so the patrol could hold an academy for cadets, the first one in about three years. No money was authorized during the state's economic downturn, but lawmakers last year also made the trooper academy an annual item in the patrol's budget.

Thompson also told committee members that long lines soon may be alleviated at the state's driver's licensing exam stations.

Software is being tested that would allow driver's license applicants to register by computer for a driver's license exam, he said. It's hoped the online service will be operational this year.

Eventually those taking the test will be able to fill out required paperwork online as well as take the written test online, he said.