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Eye On Boise

ISP: ‘We’re all experiencing tough times’

Col. Jerry Russell, director of the Idaho State Police, answers questions from legislative budget writers on Thursday about the ISP's budget. The state police could catch far more drunk drivers and other offenders if it just did more patrols, he said, but it doesn't have the resources. (Betsy Russell)
Col. Jerry Russell, director of the Idaho State Police, answers questions from legislative budget writers on Thursday about the ISP's budget. The state police could catch far more drunk drivers and other offenders if it just did more patrols, he said, but it doesn't have the resources. (Betsy Russell)

Idaho State Police Director Col. Jerry Russell told JFAC today that the ISP could be catching far more drunk drivers and others if it just did more patrols. From August of 2008 through December of 2009, funding through GARVEE highway construction bond funds allowed extra patrols at the site of large bond-funded highway construction projects, and resulted in 5,318 citations. ISP used funding from the "Project Choice" program in recent years to increase officers' pay, and JFAC Co-Chair Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, said that "stopped the bleeding" by turning around a situation in which the state was training young officers, getting them on the job, and then losing them to higher-paying police departments. Russell said, "We're all of us experiencing tough times, difficult times, and those monies I think are being wisely used to provide safety."

Overall, ISP has 178 patrol officer positions, of which 143 troopers and 21 sergeants are on the roads. The remainder include two troopers on active duty, and 19 positions that are vacant. Another five positions are being held vacant in investigations, due to budget cuts. In the ISP's management services division, there's been one layoff, two positions eliminated and 304 furlough hours imposed.



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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