Commissioner asks to combine Highway Patrol with State Police
By Associated Press
January 09, 2008 3:32 PM

CONCORD State Safety Commissioner John Barthelmes is asking permission to merge his department's two law enforcement agencies. Barthelmes wants to make the state Highway Patrol, now part of the Division of Motor Vehicles, a division of the State Police.

Both divisions are under Barthelmes's supervision, but the move would require the approval of Gov. John Lynch and the Executive Council.

DMV director Virginia Beecher and at least one lawmaker have said they oppose the move.

Barthelmes says the consolidation would save money and provide flexibility that will improve safety.

The troopers and highway patrol officers are represented by separate unions, which have squabbled over Web site names, fundraising, personal slights and accusations of interference in investigations.

In a statement released Wednesday, Barthelmes said he will present the transfer request for the Jan. 16th Governor and Council meeting, and ask that it be made effective Feb. 1.

He said the officers would continue to be represented by their respective unions and their current salaries would be maintained, but that Highway Patrol ranks and titles would be adjusted to coincide with those doing similar work in the State Police.