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Nearly 30 New Academy Graduates Join TPD Ranks

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

The city of Tulsa is one step closer to having an ideal number of police officers on our streets.

Nearly 30 officers graduated Friday and will be on their own after several weeks of field training. 

This class will be the first paid for by the Vision Tulsa sales tax. 

It's just the beginning of getting that ideal number of officers, which could take up to a decade.  

It was a big day for 28 men and women, as they take the oath and become Tulsa Police officers. 

"I feel good. I'm excited. I'm excited to get started," said Chris Gallegos. 

Officer Gallegos is enjoying hugs from his whole family today and he's ready to start patrolling the streets. 

"We're just ready for the real work now. I think we kind of got comfortable at the academy," he said. 

Corporal BK Smith has been with the department for 25 years, and will welcome as many officers as Tulsa can get.
"We are very shorthanded and this is another step in the right direction," Smith said. 

He is especially proud to help his own son pin on his badge.

"It's a lot of emotions. I don't really know how to explain it," said his son Austin. 

As Austin prepares for his first day on the job this Sunday, he'll carry his dad's advice with him.

"We just had a heart-to-heart talk and he still wanted to do it and I’ve gotta support him," BK said. 

The roughly 30 new officers are just the first round of many being paid for by the Tulsa Vision sales tax, approved by voters in 2016. 

"Everything else that we do as a city government falls after keeping our community safe," said Mayor Bynum. 

Right now, there are about 760 officers in Tulsa.

The goal, TPD says, is about 900.

"We're way short, but we're working toward it. One class at a time," said BK. 

There are several more police academies coming up in January, May, and September. 

January 2018's class will have 10 officers funded by Vision Tulsa and 20 funded by the general fund. 

May 2018's class will have 30 funded by general fund.

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