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Public safety paramount in these dangerous times

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: January 15, 2013

Since every instance of public spending these days is termed as an “investment,” it's no surprise that George would use that term in appealing for more officers. But the city has a lot of things to “invest” in, including streets, firefighters, ambulance services, parks, etc. The city's 2014 fiscal year starts July 1. Between now and then, city officials will forge the 2014 budget, balancing requests for additional spending with available revenues.

In an op-ed published Friday in The Oklahoman, George wrote that the city “can easily justify an additional 250 police officers.” We don't quarrel with the “justify” part but we do with the “easily.” The city may struggle to fund even half that number of additional officers. Nevertheless, population growth, the climbing murder rate and public safety in general justify a substantial “investment” in police officers this year.

We hope advocates for other city services will join us in urging that the police department be made a priority. Oklahoma's systemic overreliance on the sales tax for funding municipal services reminds us that an archaic government structure impedes the ability of cities to respond to changing conditions.

On the other hand, high-profile murder cases remind us that public safety is paramount in these dangerous times.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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