Maryland State Police officials are blaming morale problems for a sharp drop in traffic citations after budget cuts that closed two barracks last winter and eliminated special privileges and benefits for troopers.
State police issued 389,874 traffic citations last year, 8,834 fewer than in the year before.
In November, immediately after the closings of the Security and College Park barracks, citations for the month dipped to 29,722, nearly 5,000 less than for the same month in 1990.
State police officials say disgruntled troopers wrote fewer tickets in the wake of budget cuts that closed the barracks and resulted in the firing of administrative and clerical personnel who had worked there. For a time, it looked as if some veteran troopers would be fired as well, but layoffs were averted when a class of recruits was dismissed.
The budget cuts also resulted in a reduction in overtime pay for troopers and in elimination of perks that had allowed them to use police vehicles during off-duty hours and had compensated them for the cost of cleaning their uniforms and patrol vehicles.
In a move aimed at bolstering the sagging morale and improving the public image of the state police, the agency is to be reorganized, according to Bishop L. Robinson, secretary of public safety and correctional services.