Let’s Keep Discussing The Courtesy Patrol

Editor, News-Register:

On the Civilian Conservation Corps of West Virginia and the Courtesy Patrol:

A couple of weeks’ prior, Mike Myer wrote an opinion piece on eliminating the Courtesy Patrol to help fund raises in teachers’ salaries. I am here to elaborate and explore this issue further.

Initially, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) was the most famous program created by FDR’s New Deal to stimulate growth in employment, provide experience and opportunities for young men and women, and increase efforts toward environmental conservation. This organization was never intended to be permanent and was closed during the Second World War.

However, several organizations have arisen to carry on that legacy. One such group is West Virginia’s own Citizens Conservation Corps. This organization has existed for over 20 years and is involved in several projects. These vary from assisting physically challenged athletes, youth golf and skiing clubs, helping maintain state parks and trails, leading the largest-ever community service effort in the country, organizing disaster relief efforts, and the Courtesy Patrol. All of these programs and projects aim to promote youth development, provide jobs to the unemployed or veterans, and sustain West Virginia’s ecosystem.

This organization is doing much good for our state and is recognized as such by the U.S. Department of Labor, but how about the Courtesy Patrol? This segment of the CCC is proudly displayed first on their website and has its own special webpage, so its importance to the CCC is seemingly obvious.

What does the Patrol do? They patrol the various state highways looking for motorists in need of assistance including: removing dead trees, providing gas to people, and performing first-aid or CPR as first responders.

The Patrol also hires and trains welfare recipients and makes the highways more welcoming to tourists. Also, every driver now having cell phones, many view the Patrol as unnecessary because one could simply call for help anywhere.

Proponents for the Patrol say that the group gives a critical boost to West Virginia’s growing tourism industry, provides jobs to those who could use the experience and opportunity, and assists motorists in areas where cell service is unavailable. With all this being said, why do state lawmakers want to get rid of it?

The Courtesy Patrol costs over $4 million annually, which many would rather spend on increasing the salaries of teachers, police officers, and firefighters. The CEO is also reported to make over $300,000 annually in a non-profit organization, implying that the state funding is not being spent properly.

Also, with every driver now having cell phones, many view the Patrol as unnecessary because one could simply call for help anywhere. The Patrol would be run by the State Department of Transportation instead, at probable cheaper costs.

Let us continue this discussion. Where do you stand on this issue and why? Listen to and respect the opinions of others in order to form an eventual solution that could benefit the most people here in West Virginia.

Robert Lally