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Laid Off Tulsa Police Officers Still Looking For Work

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Brad Blackwell graduated from the Tulsa Police Academy this summer. Brad Blackwell graduated from the Tulsa Police Academy this summer.

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- One of the three Tulsa police officers not rehired by the city of Tulsa this week is speaking out.

Brad Blackwell graduated from the Tulsa Police Academy this summer.  

Blackwell says seeing his brothers and sisters back on the force is bittersweet. His wife is six-months pregnant with their first child, and he's trying to figure out how to pay the bills.

"This is our first child. We're due in Februrary. And we're having a little girl," he said.

Blackwell was a proud provider after waiting more than a year to get accepted into the police force. He graduated from the Police Academy in June and says he loved working patrol in North Tulsa until he and 20 other officers got pink slips last week.

"I think the hardest part from my point of view is seeing a job that he wanted so badly just ripped from him," said his wife, Theresa.

"With my situation, obviously with my wife being pregnant, its been a stressful week," Brad Blackwell said.  "You know, with the insurance, trying to figure out how we're going to work that out, and just not knowing if there'll be a steady check coming."

Tulsa Public Schools is working on using a federal grant to offer the three men temporary positions as security officers, but Blackwell says it might not be the best option for him as he prepares for fatherhood.

"Its grant money, so it doesn't offer you a health benefit package, like it does when you go to work for Tulsa, or another agency. So with us, we need health insurance, that's what my main concern is," said Brad Blackwell. 

Blackwell and the two other laid-off police officers met with the FOP Wednesday evening.  

The 18 police officers that were rehired spent Tuesday afternoon collecting their uniforms and equipment. 

11/3/2009 Related story: Eighteen Laid Off Tulsa Police Officers Return To Work

Those back on the force say they're happy to have their badges back.  

Many of them have been on the force for just a few months.

Tulsa Police Chief Ron Palmer stopped by Six in the Morning Wednesday. He told us how the police department determined which officers would be let go. 

"The union contract actually stipulates how they're chosen.  So there's a lottery that's done at the academy when they're hired and we draw a lottery number and right now the lowest three of that lottery are still out of work," said Chief Ron Palmer. 

Brad Blackwell, a laid-off Tulsa police officer who has not been rehired, says the union is being supportive. The union president says they're still working on ways to get Blackwell and the other two officers back on the streets.

 

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