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Oklahoma City Council votes to add more police

by William Crum Published: June 10, 2014
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Oklahoma City will increase the size of its police force under a $1.1 billion budget adopted Tuesday by the city council.

The council voted 8-0 in favor of City Manager Jim Couch’s 2014-15 budget proposal. Ward 6 Councilwoman Meg Salyer was absent.

The new fiscal year begins July 1.

The budget includes about $3 million to add 40 positions, including 33 uniform officers, to the police force.

Couch had proposed adding 28, including 21 officers, but increased the total by 12.

With strong sales tax receipts in the last quarter and a cost-sharing deal that will station officers in elementary schools, the city could afford the additional positions, he said.

“We’re very appreciative for the continued effort by the city to bolster our manpower to get us where we need to be,” said John George, president of the Fraternal Order of Police.

The additions will bring the Police Department’s authorized strength to 1,149 commissioned officers.

Chief Bill Citty’s latest study said the department needs 1,311 officers to meet its “desired” service level, which includes prompt response to the highest priority calls across all 621 square miles in the city.

Not all the department’s authorized positions are filled, and won’t be for some time.

By conducting two police academies every 14 to 16 months, the Police Department can account for attrition and retirements and add around 40 officers per year. Current strength is around 1,030.

The 2014-15 budget also includes $1.35 million for enhanced bus service, including evening service on crosstown routes 11 and 23.

by William Crum
Reporter
OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman.
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