Wyoming Police Departments Not (Yet) Limiting Calls Due To High Gas Prices

Although gas prices in Wyoming are at record high levels, police departments have not started limiting services because of budgetary pressures yet, unlike other places in the country.

Ellen Fike

June 14, 20224 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

While some police departments across the country are limiting the types of calls they are responding to in an effort to reduce gas costs, Wyoming’s law enforcement agencies haven’t been hit quite that hard.

However, Cowboy State Daily was told the rapidly rising gas prices are having an impact.

As of Tuesday, the national average price of gas was $5.02 per gallon, well above Wyoming’s average of $4.78.

With prices continuing to rise, several police departments across the country have announced reductions in responses. In Holland, Michigan, the police department is not responding in person to 911 calls when no one is in danger and no evidence needs to be collected. A sheriff’s department in Michigan announced it has already exhausted its fuel budget for the year.

The situation is not as dire in Wyoming, but departments are making adjustments to deal with the increasing prices, officers told Cowboy State Daily.

Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Deputy Jason Mower said that despite serving the geographically largest county in the state, the sheriff’s department was not limiting service calls at this time, but it is seeking more money to cover gas costs.

“Actually, in anticipation of current trends, in order to continue providing the same level of services that we do currently, we requested a 25% increase for fuel and a 9% increase for food at the detention center in our budget proposal to the Sweetwater County Board of County Commissioners for Fiscal Year 2023, which begins in July,” Mower said on Tuesday.

The situation is similar in Campbell County, said Undersheriff Quentin Reynolds.

“High gas prices have not affected Campbell County Sheriff’s Office [to make us stop limiting calls] and we are still providing the same great services to the citizens of Campbell County as we did prior to the rate increase,” he said. “It is, however, affecting our budget as we did not plan on this increase.”

Natrona County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kiera Grogan said as of Friday, the department was not being severely impacted by gas prices.

“We are continuing to respond to all calls for service as usual,” she said.

Cheyenne Police Department spokeswoman Alex Farkas also said gas prices weren’t affecting the the department’s response plans, but noted the agency implemented ways to lower gas usage several years ago.

“Our front desk officers, community service officers and citizens on patrol (COP) volunteers assist the police department with non-emergent routine patrol calls and tasks,” Farkas said. “This helps free up police officers for a more expedited response. So, while these programs were not originally intended to lower gas usage, it has been one of the benefits. In 2021, COPs contributed 5,008.9 volunteer hours to the department.”

Gas Prices Aren’t Going Down

There is no sign that gas prices in Wyoming will reverse course anytime soon.

Some gas prices in Wyoming have come close to the $6 per gallon mark already, with a Jackson station hitting $5.89 per gallon last week.

One gasoline distributor told Cowboy State Daily that gas prices over $6 per gallon are a “certainty” in Wyoming.

Mintu Pandher, owner of Laramie-headquartered Akal Energy, said gas prices will continue to increase because the demand is there and supply is tight. And as long as these conditions remain, the prices aren’t going down.

“Gasoline is a commodity,” he said. “The more demand for it, the higher the price.”

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Ellen Fike