Oklahoma City officials continue to give the lie to the claim, heard so often in the run-up to the MAPS 3 election in late 2009, that public safety isn't a priority.
The proposed city budget for the next fiscal year includes the addition of 22 police officers — 12 patrol officers, three detectives and seven civilian investigators. It would mark the biggest bump in many years, and results from growth that will see 85 new jobs citywide.
The increase follows a decision by the city council in November to use MAPS 3 use tax funds to pay for a new police headquarters and municipal courts building, instead of trying to pay for them through an increase in the cost of speeding tickets.
Businesses pay a use tax when they buy goods elsewhere for use in the city. With MAPS 3, city leaders vowed to steer much of the use tax funds generated by the initiative toward public safety. That idea was scoffed at by the police and fire unions, who said the city was neglecting them in favor of projects they saw as unnecessary.