Tulsa Mayor Goes On Ridealong With Police
TULSA, Oklahoma - You don't expect to see the mayor of Tulsa when you're getting cuffed by police, but that's exactly what happened on Saturday night.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett hit the streets with police to get a firsthand look at safety in the city.
It was a far cry from the sights and sounds of city hall for Bartlett.
Bartlett takes time every four to six months to ridealong with Tulsa police.
He says witnessing the situations officers encounter every day is a way to understand what they do firsthand.
“Officer went up very politely,” Bartlett said of a traffic stop. “Window is rolled down and what’s this, what’s this, and all of the sudden, somebody, their hand went down beside them and the officer said, ‘Hey, put your hands up, don't scare me like that,’”
Bartlett says with this ride along he's hoping to accomplish two things.
“We hear that the police officers are understaffed,” he said. “Now, here I get to see it and experience it and see the result of that."
He also wants citizens to feel safe in their communities by making sure there are enough officers to respond to problems and enough time for those officers to interact with citizens in a positive way.
“People not only must be safe, but they have to feel safe and they have to see that there are police officers out protecting them and their families, their property, etc.,” he said. “And when a problem happens, we react quickly."
Bartlett said the officer shortage is a major concern for the city as it continues to stretch officers thin, with many working thousands of dollars in overtime just to meet the city's need.
That's why they've included a safety proposal in the recently drafted Vision tax.
"We have a great number of police officers, but we don't have enough of them,” Bartlett said. “Our public safety proposal will give us an opportunity to add at least 160 officers eventually to our police department, and they need it."
Voters will decide on those needs in April.