Troopers Concerned Over Future - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Troopers Concerned Over Future

PENDLETON, Ore. -  Oregon State Police are celebrating their 75th birthday during August.  Friday troopers gathered to take pride in their history of service, but some are concerned about their future.

Back in 1931 when the Oregon State Police began, they didn't have a whole lot of troopers and were limited to what they could do. 75 years later they've come full circle.

Friday, old timers mingled with young troopers. When Scott Hancock retired in 1987 the state employed 700 troopers, now there are only 300.

Police said budget cuts forced the state cut back on troopers, and the shortage has gotten so bad no state police office is open 24 hours a day. From 2:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. no trooper is on shift. And when troopers do show up for work they don't have time to catch their breath.

"You run from one thing, to the next, to the next, and try to keep up on reports and still answer calls. We are not proactive anymore we are totally reactive," said Oregon State Police Officers' Association President Jeff Leighty.    

State police said they hope the Oregon State Legislature will find a dedicated funding source for troopers and authorize administrators to hire new recruits.