Governor Jodi Rell’s plan to close the state's budget deficit includes cutting a state police trooper class next year. WNPR’s Jeff Cohen reports.
The governor's office says that cutting the training class in 2011 won't have an effect on the department's ability to serve. But, according to Rell's budget chief Robert Genuario, the cut will save about $1.5 million dollars.
“We are suggesting a suspension of the trooper training class for fiscal year 2011, because we’re going to have one that’s going to begin in 2010 and go though 2011 and redeploy existing troopers that are not currently on patrol in order to make up the difference.”
The roughly twelve-hundred troopers with the Connecticut State Police do the majority of their work patrolling state highways, investigating motor vehicle incidents, policing small communities, and investigating crimes. Rell's budget includes a training class that will start this spring, but she has proposed cutting next year's class.
State Senator Andrea Stillman is co-chair of the legislature's public safety committee. She says this is the second time Rell has proposed cutting the training class. The governor made the same proposal last year, but Stillman says officials agreed to shrink the size of two training classes instead of cutting one.
“I thought that we had resolved it when we adopted a two-year budget. I understand that we have to make really tough decisions but I also understand that public safety is a crucial aspect of what the people of Connecticut expect."
Stillman says she’s concerned that having fewer troopers will mean higher overtime costs and greater trooper fatigue.
“Granted it’s savings, but we have to be very careful where we save.”
The legislature will now consider Rell's proposals.
For WNPR, I’m Jeff Cohen.