2009-10 Budget Analysis Series: Transportation

California Highway Patrol

The CHP’s overall level of staffing is about 11,000 positions. The department is comprised of uniformed and nonuniformed personnel, with uniformed personnel accounting for approximately 7,600 positions, or 70 percent, of total staff.

Patrol Staffing Overbudgeted and Not Justified

Budget–Year Patrol Staffing Request. Since 2006–07, the department’s goal has been to add 1,000 officers (compared to the 2005–06 level) over several years. To date, the Legislature has authorized 360 additional patrol officers. The Governor’s budget requests $35 million from MVA to provide first–year funding for an additional 240 patrol officers and 8 automotive technicians. We would note that 120 of the officer positions being requested for 2009–10 were already approved by the Legislature (during the 2008–09 budget deliberations), but the funding and position authority were deferred until 2009–10 because CHP had a significant number of officer vacancies. (The Legislature also adopted supplemental report language requiring CHP to report by March 1, 2009 on its progress filling its officer positions.) The budget–year request would bring the total patrol officers added since 2005–06 to 600 officers.

We have two concerns with this request: (1) it is overbudgeted and (2) the 120 additional positions for 2009–10 have not been fully justified.

In total, we recommend a reduction of $22 million. The remaining $13 million would fund the expected 2009–10 costs related to the 120 positions already approved by the Legislature. We further recommend that the Legislature adopt supplemental report language requiring the department to report to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee by January 10, 2010 on the following: (1) its current baseline level of patrol service and (2) the level of service it intends to achieve with recent and any future positions requests. With this information, the Legislature would have a greater ability to evaluate the merits of future officer requests, as well as hold the department accountable for results.

Request for Replacement Vehicles Lacks Specifics

The department proposes to spend $34.5 million in 2009–10 from the MVA to purchase new vehicles to partially replenish its fleet. As part of our review, we asked the department to provide a breakdown of the number of vehicles, by type, that it plans to purchase in 2009–10, as well as the unit costs for each type. At the time this analysis was prepared we had not received this information. We therefore withhold recommendation on the $34.5 million requested to purchase vehicles, pending receipt and review of the specified information.

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