Officials say cuts to Safety Department has risks

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – State law enforcement officials say the safety of motorists traveling Tennessee’s highways would be jeopardized if the Safety and Homeland Security Department has to cut 7 percent of its budget.

The department was one of several Gov. Bill Haslam heard from during budget hearings on Tuesday.

In August, the Republican governor asked state agencies to submit plans detailing how they would cut up to 7 percent of their budgets. Haslam has said the cuts are contingent on state revenues, and he hopes he doesn’t have to make them.

However, if he does, the Safety Department, which oversees the Tennessee Highway Patrol, would have to cut more than 70 troopers.

THP Col. Tracy Trott told reporters following Tuesday’s hearing that a reduction in troopers would have a drastic effect on the ability to reduce fatalities.