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Jul-08-2009 14:51printcomments

OSP Salem Troopers Back on Area Roads Around-the-Clock Starting in Mid-July

Starting July 14, 2009, the OSP Salem Area Command office will have patrol troopers working around-the-clock.

Oregon State Police trooper on traffic stop
Photo: Oregon State Police

(SALEM, Ore.) - After six years with no Oregon State Police troopers working around-the-clock patrols in the Marion and Polk county areas, the OSP Salem Area Command office will have troopers back onto these highways next Tuesday resuming 24-hour patrol coverage. "This is the fourth Oregon State Police office to reach a staffing level that will allow for the return to around-the-clock patrol coverage following the 2003 layoffs six years ago," said OSP Superintendent Timothy McLain.

"During that time many of the area partner law enforcement agencies tried to help fill in the gap caused by our lack of availability to respond. We are very appreciative for their help and we are excited to announce that another OSP office is putting troopers back onto our roads day and night to help the public and fellow officers when we are called." With the support of Governor Ted Kulongoski and legislative leadership during the 2007 legislative session, OSP has been working hard to hire and train newly authorized troopers to resume 24-hour coverage at key locations around the state.

The OSP Central Point Area Command office was the first to return to around-the--clock coverage last December. Next was the OSP Portland Area Command office, followed last month by the Albany Area Command office with more OSP offices close to resuming 24/7 coverage in the coming months. "Here is another important step in reversing the declining state police presence on our roads," Governor Kulongoski said. "While it took years to reverse this trend, Oregon remains on the path to have 24/7 OSP coverage across the state."

Starting July 14, 2009, the OSP Salem Area Command office will have patrol troopers working around-the-clock and available to respond to calls on approximately 300 miles of state and interstate highways in Marion and Polk counties.

According to Lieutenant Eric Judah, two years ago the OSP Salem office patrol trooper staffing had dipped to 9 troopers. Current staffing levels have doubled since the spring of 2007 with 3 patrol sergeants and 19 troopers and recruit troopers now on board. The OSP Salem Area Command office will add another trooper transferring in September 1st.

Two recruit troopers assigned to this office are currently completing their initial basic police academy training. "The additional troopers will help us make a significant impact on traffic and criminal problems in our area such as intoxicated and aggressive drivers, transportation of illegal drugs, apprehension of criminals and wanted fugitives, and problem traffic crash areas on Interstate 5 and surrounding state highways. Additionally, we will be able to provide more OSP patrol presence in two bordering rest areas and five State Parks within our patrol area. We also will have more of a role in assisting our partner agencies and ODOT." Department staffing increases helped OSP troopers increase statewide patrol-related contacts last year. In 2008, over 237,000 traffic contacts were reported, a ten percent increase from 2007. OSP DUII arrests statewide also jumped from 4,211 (2007) to 4,478 (2008).

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