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OSP Bend Office Returning to 24/7 Patrol Coverage in Central Oregon
Lieutenant Carl Rhodes
Oregon State Police - Bend
(541) 388-6213

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Following 11 years of no Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers working around-the-clock patrols in the Central Oregon area, the OSP Bend Area Command office will soon have troopers resuming around-the-clock coverage on area highways. The Bend office will be the first OSP Area Command to return to 24-hour coverage on Highway 97 from California to Washington.

"The recent increased hiring of OSP troopers is putting them back where they should be, on our roads to help the public and fellow officers when we are called," said OSP Superintendent Timothy McLain. "There have been several challenges to OSP and other law enforcement agencies following the 2003 OSP layoffs, but despite these challenges area law enforcement agencies tried to help fill in the gap caused by fewer troopers available to respond. Now we are able to help relieve some of that pressure and demand for public safety services."
With the support of Governor Ted Kulongoski and legislative leadership during the 2007 and 2009 legislative sessions, OSP has been working hard to hire and train newly authorized troopers to resume 24-hour coverage at key locations around the state. Last December, the OSP Central Point Area Command office was the first to return to around-the-clock coverage. Other OSP office locations in Portland, Albany, Salem and Springfield have also returned to 24 hour coverage with others getting closer in the coming months.

"This is another important step in reversing the declining state police presence on our roads," Governor Kulongoski said. "It took years to reverse this trend but Oregon remains on the path to have 24/7 OSP coverage across the state."

Starting in October 2009, the OSP Bend Area Command will have patrol troopers working around-the-clock and available to respond to calls on approximately 350 miles of state highways in Central Oregon. The Bend Area Command office also oversees OSP operations at work sites in Madras and Prineville.
According to Lieutenant Carl Rhodes, the OSP Bend Area Commander, the patrol trooper staffing had dipped to 16 troopers at the Bend office and two work sites. Current staffing levels now have the Bend Area Command and two work sites at 5 patrol sergeants and 27 troopers and recruit troopers. The added troopers, eight of which were hired since March 2008, will help OSP continue to focus on major Central Oregon highways and other known high crash problem areas including the Santiam Pass.

"The increased hiring has helped us return to 24 hour coverage and provide a quicker, immediate response to incidents in the Central Oregon area. Having a trooper immediately available will assist not only our partner law enforcement agencies who are also dealing with their own budgetary problems, but will assist ODOT in dealing with traffic issues, including crashes and/or weather related problems," said Rhodes.

Department staffing increases helped OSP troopers increase statewide patrol-related contacts last year. In 2008, over 237,000 traffic contacts were reported, a ten percent increase from 2007. OSP DUII arrests statewide also jumped from 4,211 (2007) to 4,478 (2008). Even with the limited staffing level, the Bend Area Command office troopers arrested over 350 intoxicated drivers last year.
The Oregon State Police is a full-service public safety agency providing diverse services to the citizens of Oregon. Our mission is to enhance livability and safety by protecting the people, property, and natural resources of the state. To realize our vision and accomplish our mission our objectives are to BE THERE (be ready and able to respond to the increasing needs of Oregonians); PREVENT HARM (engage in vigilant enforcement of laws and regulations while making Oregon's roadways safe and reducing our citizen's exposure to crime, fire and disasters); and, SUPPORT OREGON COMMUNITIES (providing specialized services and assistance throughout Oregon in support of the statewide public safety infrastructure).