Arizona Highway Patrol Association Thanks Governor for Passing DPS Budget Bill

(State of Arizona)  The Arizona Highway Patrol Association (AHPA) thanked Arizona Governor, Jan Brewer, today for signing into law H2010.  This bill finalizes the budget for Department of Public Safety (DPS) and allows them to provide law enforcement services without interruption.

“We are very pleased that Governor Brewer is continuing to show that public safety is a priority for the State of Arizona,” stated Jimmy Chavez, President of the Arizona Highway Patrol Association.  “AHPA has full confidence that she will continue to work with us in efforts to bring our agency to the next level – even during these tough economic times.”

Founded in 1958, the AHPA’s mission is to promote the positive role of Law Enforcement Professionals, and to protect and secure rights and benefits for their members through effective representation with local, state and national governments.

State May Issue IOUs If Budget is Vetoed

Updated: Wednesday, 02 Sep 2009, 8:32 PM MDT
Published : Wednesday, 02 Sep 2009, 8:32 PM MDT

The deadline to sign a new state budget is just days away. Arizona can no longer borrow money, and might not be able to pay its workers without a budget in place. They may have to revert to handing out IOU’s.

Thousands of employees, including the men and women who patrol Arizona highways, are worried about getting their next paycheck. DPS says they will not make Sept. 11 payroll unless a budget is signed by Saturday.

“We basically live paycheck to paycheck, and we trust the people who make the decisions with the budget to make the proper ones,” says Sgt. Bill Rogers with the Highway Patrol.

According to State Treasurer Dean Martin, the Department of Public Safety is already operating on reserve money. That means without a budget, officers may miss their first paycheck. It could also have a negative impact on their ability to patrol.

“We’re just a thin line between chaos and control,” says Sgt. Rogers. “Without us out there, this could be very chaotic.”

The state of Arizona employs about 35,000 people.

DPS relies on loans; money needed by Sept. 11

By Jim Small – jim.small@azcapitoltimes.com
Arizona Capitol Times
Published: August 31, 2009 at 3:40 pm

In two weeks, Highway Patrol cars could be sitting empty in government parking lots and the state crime lab could be bereft of forensic criminologists if Gov. Jan Brewer doesn’t sign a budget bill nearly identical to one she vetoed nearly two months ago.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety is on the verge of running out of money, and has remained operational so far this year because of a loan from the state’s general operating fund.

“We’re basically operating on a paycheck-to-paycheck sort of basis, getting (general fund) advances from the Department of Administration,” said Lt. Steve Harrison, a spokesman for the department.

“The way it is structured right now, we would run out of money in our Sept. 11th payroll.”

The department’s cash-flow problems began July 1, when Brewer vetoed a host of budget bills because lawmakers failed to approve a measure to let voters weigh in on a temporary sales tax increase.

Among those bills was S1028, which provided funding mechanisms for DPS’s general operations and its crime lab, which processes evidence for police departments across the state. The most important thing the bill did was direct $119 million from a pair of highway funds to DPS.

It also created a permanent funding source for the crime lab.

In the meantime, Harrison said, the department has received an advance on the $100 million in general fund money given by lawmakers. That staved off a mid-July shutdown.

Brewer has yet to indicate what she will do with the eight budget bills awaiting action. One of them, H2010, contains the DPS funding provisions that were found in S1028.

Lawmakers met in a special legislative session for seven weeks, but failed to reach an agreement on the sales-tax issue. The result is a budget that is nearly identical to the one previously vetoed.

The governor must sign or veto the bills by Sept. 5.

Sgt. Jimmy Chavez, president of the Arizona Highway Patrolmen Association, said a shutdown of any scope, whether partial or department-wide, would damage public safety in the state.

“The possibility that those services could be diminished in any way is unacceptable,” he said.

Chavez said he has spoken with Brewer’s aides in an attempt to persuade the governor to sign the bill.

Regardless of what happens with H2010, Harrison said the department expects lawmakers and Brewer to find a way to keep the state’s police force operating.

“We’re not too concerned,” he said. “We don’t expect them to shut down the state police.”

But Chavez said DPS officers and civilian employees are worried about it.

“In the back of everyone’s head, there is that concern,” he said. ”I don’t think anybody’s got an answer for that.”

DPS running out of money

Reported by: Christina Boomer
Email: cboomer@abc15.com
Last Update: 9:11 am

It’s a serious problem for Arizona. The Department of Public Safety (DPS) is apparently running out of money.

President of the Arizona Highway Patrol Association Jimmy Chavez said his organization learned about the money crisis from the State Treasurer’s Office.

Chavez said DPS has been receiving state loans to cover operating costs until the legislature finalizes a state budget, but those loans end September 11.

Chavez expressed concerns about the Department’s ability to pay its employees if the State does not pass a budget.

In a written statement he said, “DPS employees are already worried about their jobs due to budget cuts and this news adds more anxiety knowing that everyone might not receive a paycheck soon. Everyone is concerned about their livelihood and the future of our department and public safety.”

DPS officers enforce state laws, manage highway and public safety, and provide operational support to other agencies.

Meantime, Lt. Stephen Harrison of the Department of Public Safety wrote ABC15 a statement which read, “DPS does have some cash flow concerns; however, we are confident the legislature and governor’s office are working diligently to resolve the budget and/or allocate alternative funding. We do not anticipate any reduction in DPS operations.”

DPS will have no loan funding after September 11th

Employees concerned about livelihood and public safety

Arizona Highway Patrol Association (AHPA) has received word that the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will no longer have loan funding to operate after September 11th.  DPS’s funding problem is a direct result of the Arizona State’s budget delayed finalization.

“DPS employees are already worried about their jobs due to budget cuts and this news adds more anxiety knowing that everyone might not receive a paycheck soon,” states Sgt. Jimmy Chavez, President of the Arizona Highway Patrol Association.  “Everyone is concerned about their livelihood and the future of our department and public safety.”

AHPA is working with DPS administration to be proactive and put in place an action plan if loan funds are not available.  “DPS employees got into this profession in order to keep our Arizona community safe,” added Chavez.  “This news is devastating if we might have to stop or refine operations.”

Founded in 1958, the AHPA’s mission is to promote the positive role of Law Enforcement Professionals, and to protect and secure rights and benefits for our members through effective representation with local, state, and national governments.

Article written by/or information provided by AHPA

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