OKLAHOMA - OHP and law makers are making a push to bolster the highway patrol.
Thursday Senate Bill 1372 was proposed which aims to modify certain qualification requirements for OHP candidates.
Bill author Rep. Echols says this is all part of a global package to help the highway patrol. According to Echols there are four primary aspects to this bill.
- Pay increase.
- Putting veterans back to work; allowing them credits for honorable time served.
- Taking the age limit down to 21 years of age.
- changing some of the education requirements.
Echols says The pay increase will come from Governor Fallin's executive budget designed to set aside 5 million dollars for OHP Troopers.
OHP is looking to up their competitiveness with local law enforcement agencies and hope by lowering the age requirement they will have more candidates coming through the doors.
Where OHP previously required a bachelors degree, they now accept associate credit hours. OHP says up to thirty college credit hours may be received for military service, 10 hours per year.
Currently there are nearly 800 troopers on the highway patrol, if the bill passes OHP hopes to gain one hundred and fifty new troopers.
At the end of the legislative session of 2014, if the bill passes it will put the Oklahoma Highway Patrol in the top ten highest paid law enforcement agencies in the state.