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Kansas House Committee Considers Plans To Boost Highway Patrol Funding

Doug Kerr
Flickr Creative Commons

A Kansas House committee is considering bills that would bolster funding for the Highway Patrol with the goal of hiring more state troopers.

The proposals would either divert current registration fees to the Kansas Highway Patrol or add a new $2 fee to help hire 75 troopers over three years. Patrol Superintendent Colonel Mark Bruce says the current shortage means they can’t respond to every call, so local police departments have to pick up the slack.

“They have to send officers out to assist us. That pulls them from what their primary focus is, which is going to be more proactive policing, responding to calls within the city,” Bruce says.

Republican Representative Virgil Peck says he agrees they should focus on adding more troopers, but adding a new fee may not be the way to do it.

“Just appropriate to the Kansas Highway Patrol a little more money from the State Highway Fund, rather than placing an additional burden on vehicle owners,” Peck says.

The $2 registration fee would amount to more than $5 million per year for the Highway Patrol.

Stephen Koranda is Statehouse reporter for Kansas Public Radio and the Kansas News Service, a collaboration of KCUR, KMUW, Kansas Public Radio and High Plains Radio covering health, education and politics.