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Highway Patrol Adjusts to Increasing Gas Prices

April 12, 2005
By: Bente Birkeland
State Capital Bureau

Sitting around on the job sounds like paradise. But not for the State Highway Patrol.

Bente (BEN teh) Birkeland has more from Jefferson City.

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High gas prices have forced the State Highway Patrol to use less fuel.

Captain Chris Ricks says troopers are spending more time watching traffic on highway medians and less time driving. Ricks says they're asking officers to turn off their engines when the car is stationary. He says it's not an ideal situation.

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"If it's a trooper sitting in a median more than a minute everybody's gonna see me and know where that trooper is. Enforcement capabilities are going down very quickly. It's better for enforcement to be able to drive your vehicle aroud."

Ricks says this means the Highway Patrol is operating less efficiently. He says last year the Highway Patrol bought 1.6 million gallons of gas.

From the state Capitol, I'm Bente Birkeland.

"We want that motor to be warm and ready to go. We don't want to create problems with the motor because it's not warm. They might be sitting there at 0 miles an hour for 10-15 minutes and that motor has cooled down and they get a call somewhere and now they're going 100 miles an hour."

Ricks says at an accident officers have no choice. The keep the motor running because they need

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Increasing gas prices have forced members of the State Highway Patrol to car pool.

Bente (BEN teh) Birkeland has more from Jefferson City.

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The State Highway patrol is finding creative ways to cut fuel costs. Captain Chris Ricks says officers are car pooling to training events. He says sometimes three officers will be in the same car.

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"So if they're headed in and they have to respond to something we'd rather have two cars there than two officers in one car. For us the car is, you know, if you have two guys in one car it's the same as having one officer in one car."

Ricks says the Highway Patrol officers are also spending more time observing traffic from one spot, with their engines turned off. He says it makes enforcement difficult because can see the trooper's location.

From the state Capitol, I'm Bente Birkeland.

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High gas prices mean the State Highway Patrol needs to find creative ways to conserve fuel. Bente (BEN teh) Birkeland has more from Jefferson City.

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Captain Chris Ricks says last year the Highway Patrol bought 1.6 million gallons of gas. He says rising gas prices have forced the Highway Patrol to make changes. Ricks says they're asking officers to turn off their engines when their cars are stationary. He says it's not an ideal solution.

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Contents: " They might be sitting there at zero for 10-15 minutes and that motor has cooled down. They can get a call somewhere and they can go from zero to 100 mph and that's not good for the motor."

He says being stuck in one spot makes enforcement difficult because people know the officer's location.

Ricks says in the past officers kept the motors running.

From the state Capitol, I'm Bente Birkeland