Oklahoma City would add 40 police officers under record $1 billion budget

Oklahoma City's proposed budget exceeds $1 billion for first time and would include adding 40 police officers under a new proposal.
BY WILLIAM CRUM wcrum@opubco.com Modified: April 30, 2013 at 8:18 pm •  Published: April 30, 2013

Oklahoma City is planning to add officers to the police force.

The city is proposing that money for 40 new officers be included in the budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year beginning July 1.

For the first time, the overall budget would exceed $1 billion. Included is an additional $1 million for the city bus system.

“It's moving in the right direction,” said John George, head of the Fraternal Order of Police, the police union.

The police department additions would bring the authorized force level to 1,116, approaching the 1,250 officers George says are needed to serve the city's growing public safety needs.

The department has 986 officers now, George said, and more are set to join as recruits complete training.

In the meantime, money allocated for new officers will be used to pay overtime.

That's a strategy to “saturate high-crime areas” — which George called a “great idea ... until we actually get the manpower.”

The city runs two police training academies per year. Officials say recruits from one academy generally can offset retirements and departures from the force, while a second academy adds officers to the ranks.

Altogether, the budget plan calls for adding 51 jobs — the 40 police officers plus seven jobs in utilities and four in airports.

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