Michigan State Police asked to cut gas use amid budget crunch
The Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State Police troopers are being asked to drive about 20 percent less to save $2 million by Oct. 1 and help the state deal with a hole in its current budget.

Lt. Jim Shaw, commander at the State Police post in Jackson, said the effort to cut gas use won't hurt public safety. Last year, the State Police put 35 million miles on a fleet that cost $14 million to run.

"We don't want people thinking when they reach a certain mileage, they park the cars and go home," Shaw told the Detroit Free Press for a Saturday story.

But Lt. Roderick Williams, commander at the Metro North State Police post in Oak Park, said the mileage limit means his troopers are less visible to the public. He said he has taken two patrol cars off the road.

"We're still responding to emergency runs like crashes, but we're not patrolling as actively," Williams said. "We're making every effort to reduce our mileage and save gas."

Troopers will respond to emergencies and traffic law violators regardless of the new limits, department spokeswoman Shanon Akans. But with gasoline prices pushing $2.50 per gallon, every mile counts, she added.

The effort to cut costs was ordered Feb. 14 to help erase an expected $13.6-million deficit in the State Police budget, Akans said. The department overspent by $6.6 million last fiscal year.

Mileage limits are firm but not absolute, and they vary among State Police posts based on the number of patrol cars and the miles troopers recorded last year. The state's new budget year starts Oct. 1.


Michigan State Police begin layoffs, reassignments

LANSING -- Twenty-nine Michigan State Police troopers and two civilian employees have been notified they will be laid off next month, the agency said Wednesday.

The layoff notices were issued Monday, spokeswoman Shanon Akans said. Another 87 employees were told Wednesday that they could be demoted, dropped to a lower pay rate or assigned to a new post, she said.

The moves are meant to eliminate a $13.6-million deficit in the state police budget for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. The layoffs alone will save $2.3 million, and the department also expects to save $2.5 million by canceling a 50-recruit trooper training school that was to have begun in August, Akans said.

The department has laid off employees only once before, in 1980, she said.

The layoffs will drop the number of on-the-road troopers below 1,000 for the first time in more than 30 years, the Michigan State Police Troopers Association said when the cutbacks were first announced in February.