Tulsa Police Layoffs Affecting Felony Court Cases
By Dan Bewley and Terry Hood, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- The layoffs at the Tulsa Police Department are starting to be felt in Tulsa County's courtrooms.
At least five felony cases have been dismissed because laid-off police officers are not able to testify.
It's been two weeks since 124 Tulsa police officers were let go from the city payroll. The officers were laid off after the mayor's office and the Fraternal Order of Police could not come to an agreement on a deal to save the city money.
Tuesday morning, Police Chief Chuck Jordan told city councilors he's concerned about the number of criminal cases that may be affected.
The district attorney's office tells The News On 6 that five cases have been dismissed and they're looking at another 50 or more that have laid-off officers as key witnesses.
Four of the five dismissed cases are drug related. The other was grand larceny and burglary.
In one of those cases, the former Tulsa police officer has a new job in Florida and can't come back to testify. The chief says finding the former officers can be difficult.
"They've changed addresses, they've given up cell phones, a lot of things have changed. So we're trying to facilitate that and I have one of my sergeants that's the court liaison doing exactly that. We're trying to minimize the damage as much as possible," said Interim Police Chief Chuck Jordan, Tulsa Police.
The Tulsa County District Attorney's office says if they need a former officer to testify who now lives out of state, Tulsa County would have to pay to fly them back to Tulsa, which causes a big hit in their budget.