Nevada Highway Patrol Officers Brace for Possible Cuts - 8 News NOW

Nevada Highway Patrol Officers Brace for Possible Cuts

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LAS VEGAS - State agencies are weighing their options in the face of more budget cuts. But, the head of the union that represents Nevada Highway Patrol troopers says they are already hurting, and more cuts could affect public safety.

Richard "Axel" James with the Nevada Department of Public Safety Association says NHP-imposed furloughs are already putting a strain on the department's troopers. "They are dedicated men and woman doing the job," James said. "If we continue at this pace, we are going to have to realize that if something goes down, it will be a while before an officer can get there, if an officer shows up at all."

It's a scenario James says could become reality if more cuts happen. That has plenty in his department worried. "These officers are putting their lives on the line every day," James said. "At what point do we try and stop the bleeding so to speak and say, ‘Okay, public safety is going to outweigh some of the things that we are facing?'"

Nevada Highway Patrol Chief Tony Almaraz says it is unknown if NHP will endure more cuts. "I think every department head is always concerned about the unknown," Almaraz said. "There are a lot of contingency plans that we have to put together in anticipation that there may be other cuts coming, but it's just unclear on what those cuts would be… We are going to have to look at every variable that's going to go with our commitment to our mission."

James says he and others on the force want more consideration for state law enforcement if cuts have to be made. "I never thought it would reach this level to where it would be a major concern where we are jeopardizing public safety," he said.

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