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Raw Chatter

Those who support the Georgia Department of Public Safety better start talking with local legislators.

The reason: State budget cuts -- more of which are proposed by Gov. Sonny Perdue this year.

Already, troopers are being furloughed two days a month, which creates low morale. The men and women of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, some of whom live in McDuffie and Warren counties, deserve better than they have received.

I believe that enough is enough, especially when it appears certain lawmakers have a bad taste in their mouths for what troopers do to make our state's highways safer.

Proposed cutbacks also would revamp those who work as trooper resource education officers in schools across our state. Apparently those considering cutting that division don't understand the importance of educating students before they get old enough to drive.

I have always been an avid supporter and friend of the Georgia State Patrol and it hurts me, personally, to think that this agency is being treated like scapegoats. This agency and its people are not to blame for the mess our state finds itself in from an economic standpoint.

Our troopers and their superiors have continued to perform their duties with honor, integrity and professionalism during past cutbacks. But more cutbacks to this particular agency are only going to mean additional problems.

Troopers and officers with the Motor Vehicle Compliance Division are forced to drive their cars past the 100,000-mile limit they normally drive before getting a new one.

It appears to me that this agency is being picked on and I don't understand why. After all, it's not like this agency hasn't done its part in helping trim the budget. And now, suddenly, some lawmakers believe additional cutbacks can and need to be made within the Georgia State Patrol.

And it's all being pushed by Gov. Perdue.

Again, enough is enough.

I mean, after all, it's not like the Georgia State Patrol has some great stockpile of funds they can just hand out to make everything better.

Hopefully, lawmakers will do the right thing when it comes time to act on this matter.

It's time to fully restore the Georgia State Patrol to its full strength, instead of keeping them understaffed. Col. Bill Hitchens, who serves as commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, has done an admirable job.

Col. Hitchens and his staff shouldn't be forced to make any more cutbacks. They should be more focused on keeping the motoring public safer on Georgia's highways.

Georgia is short 360 officers within the state's department of public safety. Fewer persons clearly would mean less money coming into the state's coffers. Weigh stations for truckers currently are open only on a periodic basis. Just think how much fine money could be made by manning those stations on a 24-hour basis -- an estimated $13 million a year. Such an idea would only cost about $3 million for added personnel to man those stations around the clock.

To me, that seems like a pretty logical thing to do.

Web posted on Thursday, January 28, 2010

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