Some state troopers warn cost-cutting could jeopardize safety - WNCN: News, Weather

State troopers warn cost-cutting could jeopardize safety

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Gov. Pat McCrory's budget proposal calls for closing North Carolina Highway Patrol communications centers in Williamstown, Asheville and Greensboro. Gov. Pat McCrory's budget proposal calls for closing North Carolina Highway Patrol communications centers in Williamstown, Asheville and Greensboro.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

A plan to close three North Carolina Highway Patrol communications centers is coming under scrutiny. 

The North Carolina Department of Public Safety, which overseas Highway Patrol, approves of the cost-cutting plan outlined in Gov. Pat McCrory's budget proposal, but some troopers say the plan could jeopardize their safety.

McCrory's budget proposal calls for closing communications centers in Williamstown, Asheville and Greensboro. The Greensboro office covers parts of Chatham, Lee and Orange Counties. 

The plan is estimated to save the state $1.88 million per year, cut 36 positions and move another 12 to other offices, including eight positions to the Raleigh call center.

Randy Hammond, a retired captain for the North Carolina Highway Patrol, calls the plan a disaster. He says call centers are already understaffed as it stands.

"For me, first and foremost, his or her safety is paramount," Hammond said. "If it jeopardizes one trooper, one trooper is injured because of lack of communication, then it has been all for naught."

A spokesperson for the N.C. DPS declined an on-camera interview request, but sent a prepared statement from public safety Secretary Kieran Shanahan instead. 

That statement reads:

"The Department supports the Governor's budget. The Communication Center consolidation ensures a more efficient and effective communications process. With advancements in technology, we will be able to manage this reorganization and do not anticipate any impact on response times or public safety. Should the consolidation be included in the final budget, we will do all we can to assist the employees who are affected."

Competing budget plans continue to make their way through the General Assembly.

Derick Waller

Derick is a reporter for WNCN covering crime, education, politics and just about everything in between. He has a knack for adapting to any story and consistently delivers information quickly across multiple platforms. More>>

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