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.