Tulsa's police department is running low on funds to clean up meth labs. It's a double whammy because as money runs out, the number of meth labs keeps creeping higher.
News on Six reporter Patrina Adger says methamphetamine is increasingly becoming the drug of choice in Tulsa. Police knocked down their 5th meth lab in two days.
Tulsa Police Major Bill Wells: "We're seeing increases out there, and I think it's because we've done such a good job of training out people to identify what a meth lab looks like." Police say they found 178 meth labs last year, which is up from 120 the year before. And the cost to clean up these labs is not cheap. The price tag runs anywhere from $3,500 to $5,000 to collect and dispose hazardous chemicals from one lab.
In January 2002, Tulsa Police received a two-year grant of $175,000 to cover cleanup costs. But after only thirteen months, they say there's only enough money for a couple of months."
Police have taken down 30 meth labs so far this year. At the rate their going, Major Bill Wells says the money could run out sooner than expected. "That's not to say we're not going to pick up meth lab because the fact is regardless we will pick up the meth lab, it's a matter of coordinating the officer's ability to do investigations and pay overtime for officers to come in and the clean labs upâ€
The Local Law Enforcement Block Grant given to the department by the mayor's office covers overtime to the officers who clean up labs. If the money runs out, Wells says they'll have to use on-duty officers to do the job, which means they'll have less time to do other narcotics investigations. "We're actively looking for more money to try and fund this continuing to do this the same way we are doing it now."
Tulsa Police say until they apply and receive another grant, they will continue to work on overtime. A tab the city will have to pick up.