Laid Off Tulsa Police Officer Weighs In On JAG Grant Approval
By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- The Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police says they could reprocess 35 laid off officers in less than a week, but it's ultimately up to the Mayor's office when to put them back on the force.
Thirty-five officers will be back to work after Mayor Dewey Bartlett said U.S. Representative John Sullivan's office expedited approval from Washington to use federal grant money to pay for some Tulsa police salaries for 17 months.
The JAG grant involves roughly $3 million.
Laid off officer Wyatt Beaty says he's facing a lot of tough decisions. He's one of the 35 officers who will be saved by the JAG grant. Beaty was a cop for five years before getting laid off along with 123 other officers. He's thrilled to get his job back, but it's only a short-term fix. Like many other officers, he needs a long-term answer.
"Mixed emotions; I'm really excited to get my job back, I can't wait to get back to work. I'm missing my buddies at work who are out there working the streets right now without me, but there's still a large number of us that aren't working," said Beaty.
Beaty went to a law enforcement job fair just two weeks ago, when his future was up in the air. He picked up applications for a half-dozen police departments in Texas. Given that the grant money will only provide salaries for 17 months, and if the budget crisis doesn't improve, Beaty's afraid he could be laid off again.
Beaty says his heart is in Tulsa, but his future could be in Texas.
"When I wanted to be a police officer, I wanted only to be a Tulsa police officer, but I still have to think about what's best for my family," said Beaty.
For its part, the Police Union is still fighting to hire back the other 89 laid off officers.
"We do have an offer that's in the Mayor's office now that will allow for all of those officers to come back to work," said Kim Presley, Fraternal Order of Police.
The FOP isn't revealing any details of its offer to hire back the other 89 laid off officers, only saying the plan would keep the city's budget balanced.
Even if Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett approves the plan, it's only good until the end of June.