As Connecticut lawmakers tighten the budget belt, State Troopers are worried some proposed cuts could jeopardize public safety. Troopers oppose plans put forth by both Governor M. Jodi Rell and majority Democrats in the General Assembly, to remove them from nearly all of the state’s weigh stations in a cost-saving maneuver.
Troopers Say Weigh Station Cuts Threaten Security
"We have full arrest powers and we'd be the guys DMV would call anyway," says Trooper First Class Carlo Guerra, 45, an 11-year veteran of the truck squad.
The Governor’s proposal would save money - a projected $1.6 million over the next two years, while the Democratic plan would save $1.3 million. Under both policies, the Greenwich weigh station on Interstate 95 would be run by the Department of Public Safety and the DMV. Right now, there are troopers stationed in Waterford, Greenwich, Middletown and Danbury and the DMV staffs the sixth in Union.
"To diminish the state's ability to deter and conduct enforcement on commercial motor vehicles would be exactly the wrong thing to do," said Trooper Steven Rief, president of the state police union.
Rief said DMV inspectors, while armed with guns and the ability to detain suspects when awaiting trooper support, don't have authority to deal with criminal matters. Troopers, meanwhile, can "deal with everything that we come across," he said.
Adam Liegeot, a spokesman for Governor Rell, said Friday that the Governor believes the troopers on weigh station duty would be better used patrolling state highways. He said the Governor expects that DMV workers would be able to handle the transition with no impact on public safety.