Legislative Analyst's Office
Analysis of the 2001-02 Budget Bill
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is responsible for ensuring the safe, lawful, and efficient transportation of persons and goods on the state's highway system. In addition, CHP provides protective services and security for state employees and property, and carries out a variety of other mandated tasks related to law enforcement.
The budget proposes $987.4 million to support CHP in 2001-02. This is approximately $21.3 million, or 2.2 percent, above estimated current-year expenditures. Most of the increased expenditures would fund (1) the addition of 76 motorcycle officers in major metropolitan areas, and (2) grants to local law enforcement agencies to collect data on the race of motorists they stop.
Most of CHP's budget is funded from the Motor Vehicle Account (MVA), which receives revenues primarily from registration fees, driver license fees, and other vehicle-related fees. For 2001-02, MVA funds would make up 90 percent of CHP support costs.
The department proposes to add 76 motorcycle officers to patrol congested urban freeways, and requests funding to support these officers for the entire 2001-02 fiscal year. However, because it will take some time to hire these new officers, full-year funding for the positions will not be needed. Accordingly, we recommend a reduction of $1.3 million due to overbudgeting. (Reduce Item 2720-001-0044 by $1.3 million.)
The department requests $8,850,000 for 76 additional motorcycle officers to patrol congested freeways in the state. These officers would supplement 96 officers that were added for the same purpose in 2000-01.
Positions Will Be Vacant Part of Year. In its proposal, the department acknowledges that the new officers will not all be in place at the beginning of the budget year. This is because it will take some time to hire new officers and place them in the training academy. Indeed, of the 96 officers authorized for 2000-01, 39 officers still had not been hired as of January 2001.
The department estimates that because of the anticipated hiring delays, costs for only 63.2 personnel-years in officers' time will be incurred 2001-02. (This amounts to a 12.8 personnel-year vacancy for the fiscal year.) However, the budget requests full-year funding for the 76 positions.
Costs for Anticipated Vacancies Should Be Deleted. The department estimates that the cost for the 12.8 personnel-years would be $1,262,000. Because these expenditures will not be incurred by the department in the budget year, we recommend that $1,262,000 be deleted.
The department requests an augmentation of $531,000 to provide ongoing funding for six officer positions for the El Protector program. These positions had been established on a limited-term basis to expand the program's focus to include other ethnic groups in addition to Hispanic motorists. However, there has been almost no such effort. Accordingly, we recommend that the limited-term positions be discontinued and the requested amount be deleted. (Reduce Item 2720-001-0044 by $531,000.)
The CHP's El Protector program was established in 1988 in response to data that showed Hispanic motorists were disproportionately involved in fatal automobile accidents and alcohol-related arrests. The program seeks to raise awareness of traffic safety issues among Hispanics by using bilingual officers to make presentations and generally provide information at various public forums.
Pilot Expansion Undertaken. For 1999-00, the department requested and received six limited-term positions to expand the program beyond the Hispanic community. The positions were dedicated to a two-year pilot to serve "other groups of non-English speaking drivers with disproportionately high percentages of involvement in traffic accidents and fatalities." Within the first six months of the pilot, the department was to collect data identifying which additional ethnic groups were over-represented in traffic accidents and fatalities. For the remainder of the pilot the department would determine a course of action to reduce accident rates within those identified groups. At the end of the pilot on July 1, 2001, the department is to provide a report to the Legislature on the results of the pilot project.
Expansion Does Not Meet Pilot Objective. The department now reports that the six positions devoted to the pilot have been focused on the Hispanic community. We believe this is inconsistent with the expressed objective of the pilot as previously approved by the Legislature. Although the department notes that it has translated some safety brochures into other languages, there is no evidence that the officers have in any meaningful way focused their efforts on non-Hispanic ethnic groups.
Permanent Continuation of Pilot Not Warranted. For 2001-02, the department requests $531,000 in baseline funding and authority to make permanent the six limited-term officer positions. The department argues this would allow CHP to continue outreach to non-Hispanic ethnic groups. However, because there is no evidence that the six positions have in fact been focused on non-Hispanic groups during the two-year pilot, we believe a continuation of the pilot would not achieve its stated objectives. Accordingly, we recommend that the Legislature delete this proposed augmentation. We would note that even without the augmentation, the core El Protector program would have seven permanent positions.
The department requests $7 million for grants to local law enforcement agencies to collect and report data on the race of motorists they stop. For 2000-01, the department received $5 million to provide such grants, and so far has awarded a total of $1.1 million to 41 agencies. We anticipate that adequate funds will remain unencumbered from the current-year grant funds to meet the projected demand for 2001-02. Accordingly, we recommend that (1) these remaining funds ($3.9 million) be reappropriated to be available in 2001-02 and (2) the proposed $7 million augmentation for 2001-02 be deleted. (Reduce Item 2720-101-0001 by $7 million.)
In September 1999, the Governor directed CHP to collect and analyze data on the race and ethnicity of motorists that were stopped by CHP and local law enforcement agencies. The objective of this project was to determine whether motorists were being stopped primarily on the basis of their race or ethnicity and, if so, to what extent. This practice, known as "racial profiling," was prohibited by Chapter 684, Statutes of 2000 (SB 1102, Murray).
Racial Profiling Study to Be Conducted. Chapter 684 also requires that our office study data voluntarily provided by local law enforcement agencies with regard to racial profiling. We are required to provide our findings and recommendations to the Legislature by July 1, 2002. Currently, we are working with CHP to ensure that reliable data can be voluntarily provided by the largest possible number of local agencies.
Local Data Collection Requested. The Governor directed CHP to collect racial data for three years (calendar years 2000 through 2002). Data from local law enforcement agencies were to be reported voluntarily to CHP. In the first year of data collection, only 16 of the state's approximately 375 law enforcement agencies chose to participate.
Grants Offered to Encourage Local Participation. To encourage greater participation by local agencies, the Legislature appropriated $5 million to CHP in 2000-01 for grants to local law enforcement agencies that agreed to provide data using specified standards. The CHP solicited applications from all local police and sheriff departments, offering grants between $5,000 and $100,000 for the year, depending on the number of sworn officers in each department. As of January 2001, 30 police departments and 11 sheriff's departments were awarded grants, totaling $1.1 million. (Half of the original participants from 2000 are included in the grant program.)
Local Participation Is Limited. Although CHP has sent another letter extending the grant program to nonparticipating agencies, it is unknown whether any additional agencies will in fact voluntarily participate. Local agencies choose not to participate for a variety of reasons, including unwillingness to share sensitive information with the state, disagreement with CHP's methodology, and concern that data collection could interfere with officers' other duties.
Current Funding Adequate for Projected Needs. After disbursing grants to the agencies currently participating in the data collection program, CHP still has a reserve in the current year of $3.9 million for the grant program. Even if the 2001-02 participation rate were to triple that of the current year, CHP would have adequate funding to meet the needs of the program through 2001-02. Accordingly, we recommend that (1) the department's proposed increase of $7 million be deleted from its 2001-02 budget, and (2) the unencumbered balance of the $5 million be reappropriated to the department for 2001-02. In the event that additional local agencies participate in the program during the balance of the year, thereby expending current-year funds, we would modify our recommendation accordingly.