The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority will give $5 million to help fund the 2018 Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy.
The deal was announced in a press conference Thursday afternoon with state lawmakers and leaders from the OTA, OHP, and Department of Public Safety.
DPS Commissioner Mike Thompson says OHP is smaller today than it was in 1990. And with 125 troopers eligible for retirement, OHP anticipates as many as 30 troopers retiring each year.
“It was so critical that we had the ability with this session to have the means to have a patrol school in 2018. So, when we have all these people leave, we have to have the ability to replace them.”
Thompson says OHP currently employs 790 troopers and hopes to graduate 30 troopers in 2018.
Rep. Mike Sanders (R-Kingfisher) says the agreement will help protect Oklahoma citizens.
"The Oklahoma Highway Patrol was unable to fund an academy this year to hire new troopers. Currently, 790 troopers protect more than 112,000 miles of Oklahoma roads. Having new troopers on our roads will help keep Oklahomans safe."
The money will fund the academy, future training, equipment, salary and benefits for the troopers for a year.