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By BOB WHITE
VERSAILLES — Kentucky State Police announced last week that rising gas prices caused a need for reduced roving patrols, but the same agency began adding decals this week on 17 cruisers resembling markings from 1948.
The newly stickered police cruisers are among several ways the agency is marking its 60th anniversary. On Tuesday, KSP hosted an event at its Versailles headquarters to mark the anniversary. The event included several static displays that compare a modern trooper’s capabilities to those of a trooper from 1948 and provide a visual history of the agency.
Adding the commemorative markings to 17 cruisers will cost the agency more than $2,500, KSP spokesman Lt. Phil Crumpton said.
Since the beginning of 2008, numerous agencies throughout state government have cried foul about their financial situations.
Last week, the Department for Public Advocacy announced that because of a dwindling budget it no longer could afford to represent some defendants, even though indigent defendants have a right to legal counsel.
As reflected by last week’s announcement that some KSP roving patrols would be replaced with stationary checkpoints, the budget crunch has affected most state agencies.
Kentucky’s Department of Corrections – which experienced the highest percentage increase of inmate populations among all 50 states last year — also is experiencing budget troubles because of drastic increase to inmate population.
According to Crumpton, plans to mark the agency’s 60th anniversary were in place long before the impact of higher gasoline prices on roving patrols was apparent.
“I’m sure it cost a little more than the normal markings, but it wasn’t that much,” he said.
The cars would not have been decaled at all if not for the anniversary, Crumpton said. Decals for the average KSP cruiser cost about $61 each, he said.
The cruisers used for the commemorative decals were formerly used by detectives across the state, some of whom have retired and no longer use the vehicles. The cars will be distributed to public affairs offices statewide, including Elizabethtown’s Post 4 where Trooper Steve Pavey is spokesman.
Pavey, who currently drives a marked SUV to public affairs’ functions, forwarded all questions relating to the commemoratively marked cars to state headquarters.
According to the Elizabethtown Police Department, which has in-house mechanics decal the department’s cruisers, cost to mark a vehicle can range between $250 and $300 per car in decals alone.
Bob White can be reached at (502) 572-5419.