In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Troopers Standing Still
Michigan's men and women in blue get paid to cruise our freeways. Soon Michigan State troopers will be paid to sit on their behinds. They call them "stationary patrols." The state police budget is in such sad shape that in addition to laying off 100 troopers, the MSP commanders are telling the troops to park their scout cars in the median to reduce miles driven by 1 million at a savings of $600,000. This policy amounts to parking all the cruisers in the garage for one full month. Speeding motorists, rejoice. Convicted felons on the run, rejoice. Road rage addicts, rejoice. Well you get the picture. The last time this "sit in your car and watch crime go by" policy was used, troopers wrote 22,800 fewer tickets, drunk driving arrested plummeted 23%, and fugitive arrests dipped by 1,200 or 17% according to the Detroit News. Let's see: Round up lawbreakers or save gasoline? MSP picks the latter. The department is doing what lawmakers ordered it to do i.e. balance your budget. Now it is likely the layoff notices slated for July one will be averted. But even if the jobs are saved, what's=2 0the difference if you have 900 troopers sitting in the median or 1000 waving at you as you lead-foot it up North at 85 miles an hour? Of course they will go after "high profile and 9-1-1" calls, so it won't be a total Wild West out there. But why stop at saving gas dollars? Guns and bullets cost money, so why not scrap them, too.