Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty said Tuesday he needs 200 new patrol officers in order to meet the department's goal of responding to emergency calls within 9 minutes, 30 seconds.
On the busiest days for 911 calls — Friday, Saturday and Sunday — response times frequently exceed the goal, he told the city council. Response times decline on weekdays and mornings.
The population of the city has increased in recent years, but the number of police officers has remained fairly constant, he said. Currently, the department has about two officers for every 1,000 city residents. There are about 580,000 people in the city.
Various factors can also take officers off the street, such as in-service training, vacations, military leave, being on light duty and taking sick leave.
The police department has four patrol divisions. Each division has three shifts a day and a minimum of 14 officers assigned to each shift.
Citty said the department has considered adding officers to the weekend shifts, when officers more frequently call in sick.
“You see that staffing falls by a few people on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but then goes back up a little on Monday,” Citty said. “They're willing to come back on Monday. They want off the weekends with their families.”
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