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State Sen. Clark Jolley has been named Legislator of the Year by the Oklahoma State Troopers Association (OSTA). Jolley was author of legislation directing a supplemental appropriation of $5 million to the Department of Public Safety to fund an Academy to train 40 Highway Patrol cadets.
In just the last three years, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OHP) has lost about 80 troopers, primarily because of retirement. Jolley has advocated funding annual trooper academies to fully restore and maintain optimum numbers in the OHP.
Our Highway Patrol Troopers are on the front lines keeping Oklahomans and their families safe, so keeping their numbers up is imperative to keeping our highways safe, said Jolley, R-Edmond. With troopers retiring and some leaving for other positions, we need to make sure we fund academies to bring new officers into OHP. There was no question as to this being a top priority this year, but we need to continue these efforts.
OSTA Pres. Keith Barenberg said the organization is grateful for Jolleys leadership in public safety.
In selecting Senator Jolley for this award, we wanted to thank him for his long-time commitment to public safety and to the Highway Patrol, Barenberg said. His efforts are making our roads and highways safer not only for our citizens, but for our troopers as well. Providing resources for trooper academies is critical to achieving these goals, and Senator Jolley has been a tireless advocate.
Jolley has authored several public safety bills during his tenure in the State Senate, including 2011s Erin Swezey Act, creating tougher penalties for drunk drivers in Oklahoma. He also authored legislation increasing penalties for those who fail to use proper child restraints. Jolley also worked to address the issue of distracted driving among teens by limiting cell phone use behind the wheel.
As a legislator and as a father of two young children, I believe we have a responsibility to do everything we can to keep our roadways safe. That means working to create public policy promoting responsible driving and holding people accountable when they endanger the lives of others, Jolley said. It also means we have to continue the work we began this session to increase the ranks in the Oklahoma Highway Patrol so that these laws are enforced.
Im grateful to be honored by the Oklahoma Troopers Association for doing work I believe in, and I appreciate the opportunity to work with them on behalf of the citizens of our state.