TULSA, Oklahoma - As city leaders search for a way to solve Tulsa's police shortage, 19 more officers graduated from the academy Friday. Authorities say the Tulsa police department is still at a critical low when it comes to officers in town.

A new study we told you about earlier in the week shows the department needs to add close to 200 more officers for a city our size - making this class of graduates all the more important.

Robert Pappano is one of 19 police cadets graduating from the Tulsa police academy.

"I feel outstanding, it's a great day," he said.

According to the Tulsa police department, they currently have 771 sworn officers with 711 available to work. And it's not enough.

A study by the University of Cincinnati says the City of Tulsa is in the top 25 percent of all U.S. cities in its number of violent crimes. The study suggests the city needs at least 958 officers with at least half on patrol.

Tulsa police Chief Chuck Jordan says the city is working on a plan to fill that need.

"We're looking at a public safety funding package that may allow us to do even more hiring and get us up to the numbers we need to be at," Chief Jordan said. "We have a concurrent academy going on right now. As a matter of fact - that we'll be graduating later next year, so we're encouraging recruitment."

And they're cranking out cadets as fast as they can - without sacrificing training.

Cadets must have a four-year Bachelor's degree before getting accepted. At that point they undergo a rigorous 27-week education program at the academy before graduating, where they will then do on-the-job training for another 16 weeks.
Making this day, graduation day, just one more step to getting 19 more officers on patrol.

"I'm looking forward to getting through our FTO training," said new Officer Robert Pappano. "I want all of us to be successful, and we'll just have to see where it goes from there."

Protecting and serving Tulsans. The next class of TPD cadets will graduate come the new year.