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Vicious Circle for California Highway Patrol

The Legislature´s watchdog says a steady increase in traffic accidents is straining the California Highway Patrol — creating a vicious circle: C-H-P officers spend more time responding to crashes and less time trying to prevent them, so the numbers keep increasing.

The Legislative Analyst´s Office recommends changing accident reporting policies and using more civilian employees to free more sworn officers for patrol duties. A spokesman says the C-H-P is considering those options — but is cautious about no longer taking non-injury accident reports as the analyst suggests, because the public has come to expect that service.

The California Association of Highway Patrolmen says the recommendations won´t end the need to hire thousands more officers.

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On the Net:

Legislative Analyst´s Office: www.lao.ca.gov

California Highway Patrol: www.chp.ca.gov

California Association of Highway Patrolmen: www.thecahp.org