FOP Makes Concessions In Hopes Of Saving Tulsa Police Officers Jobs
By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Tulsa police officers give up take-home cars to save jobs.
Members of the police union voted unanimously to no longer drive squad cars home if they live outside the city limits.
The city estimates that decision will save $550,000 over the next six months, which equals the salaries of 18 to 20 officers.
The police say they understand extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures and they are willing to do what's necessary to save jobs.
Now, they hope the mayor will accept cuts proposed by the police department that will save millions but not involve lay-offs.
Officers have voted to change their contract; so those who live outside the city will park their patrol cars at a city facility and then drive their personal car home.
It could mean a delay getting to some scenes.
Say a SWAT team member lives outside the city and gets a call of someone shooting up a school. Rather than going straight to the scene, they will have to go to their car, put all their gear inside and then drive to the scene. It could cause a delay and be an inconvenience.
Captain Ryan Perkins, TPD, said, "My real feeling about that is I'd rather have officers a little bit inconvenienced than have 135 officers less and we'd all be very much more inconvenienced."
Captain Perkins says between agreeing to the furlough days, giving up standard performance increases, accepting a salary freeze and changing the way overtime is paid, police officers have given the city $3 million in concessions this year.
"We understand the city is in a rough period, we understand revenue is down and based on the way we're funded, it's hard to balance the budget right now and that's what last night was all about, to show we're willing to give concessions to help make up the difference with the citizens of Tulsa, and the city of Tulsa and we're willing to do that to save jobs," Perkins said.
The union supports the budget cuts suggested by police management to the Mayor. One proposal would save more than $3 million by not buying police cars this year
Another involves selling one police helicopter for one to two million and they'd gain another two million by shifting some federal grant money.
They hope the mayor chooses those cuts rather than laying off police officers.
They say those cuts should get them to June and at that time, the police union could make decisions in next year's contract that would keep officers on the force.
The union says its number one priority is making sure citizens who live, worship, shop and visit Tulsa are safe, which includes their own families.