Some Iowa lawmakers are calling on the state patrol to get more troopers on the highways. Representative Lance Horbach chairs the budget committee that sets funding for the patrol, and the Tama republican says he’d like to see more troopers in squad cars even if it means pulling them from other duties like inspecting schoolbuses and guarding the state capitol.Horbach says right now troopers are off the road inspecting things like lights on buses for 370 school districts and providing security at the statehouse. Horbach says public-safety cadets can guard the statehouse, and school mechanics can inspect the buses. Horbach says troopers spend fifteen-percent of their time patrolling unpaved roads in the state. He says sheriff’s deputies also provide that enforcement so there’s duplication and he doesn’t think troopers need to be out on the gravel roads. Public-safety commissioner Kevin Techau defends the practices of the patrol. Techau says there’s no question the public-safety agency needs to review everything it does, but doesn’t want any of the suggestions put forth to result in a cut in services, and he warns lawmakers to consider the effect of many cuts on the daily life of the average Iowan. Commissioner Techau says the patrol’s down to 380 troopers right now, from a high of 455 in 1999. He says there were 410 troopers on the roads back in 1970, when the volume of highway and interstate traffic was half what it is today.
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