Tuesday, March 16, 2010
In support of the South Carolina Highway Patrol
The troopers of the South Carolina Highway Patrol are facing severe budget cuts from the South Carolina General Assembly. As typical with the South Carolina General Assembly today in tough times, it chooses to cut necessary services just as much as unnecessary ones.
There is a certain level of irony to the situation. The General Assembly, because of its lack of courage to tackle unnecessary government programs, makes cuts across the board that effects men and women who have the courage to walk up to a car all alone at 3AM on Interstate 95. Of course, other state government workers who have the courage to work in other essential programs have the right to feel the same way as state troopers do.
Outraging is the “anonymous” comments on various news websites and blogs that seems a bit planned. People, hiding behind anonymous names, criticize the state troopers for pulling over average people and enforcing seatbelt laws of all things, as one commenter said, “to get money for bureaucrats.” To those people, lying off freshman state troopers and cutting back state trooper training and patrols is a good thing.
Fair enough to those folks with that point of view. No one likes to get a ticket. Everyone who gets one wants to think there as something wrong done to them when they got the ticket. But, the truth is that we need our state troopers. We need to them to have the people and resources to get their job done. By and large, state troopers are dedicated public servants, who do the often thankless job of walking up to that car with Florida plates at 3AM on the interstate, dutifully investigating a tragic accident or offering assistance to a distressed motorist.
Indeed, for those who think that the General Assembly is right to cut the Highway Patrol and keep things like the Department of Commerce running at relatively full pace, think on this. On some late night on some lonely road, you or your mother or wife or daughter calls for help. While you, your mother, your wife or your daughter are there on the side of that lonely road, the most welcomed sight will be the arrival of the state trooper’s patrol car. How long it takes for that car to arrive and how well trained that state trooper is depends on the support the General Assembly gives the Highway Patrol.
As for VUI, we want that trooper to have the full support of the General Assembly and we want the General Assembly to have the courage to prioritize the budget process and make sure that first things, like public safety, get funded first.