Vision Tulsa Tax Extension Could Fix Lack Of Tulsa Police Officers
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa police officers say they’re overstretched; so much so they don’t even patrol the city.
Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police president, Clay Ballenger, said that’s a safety problem for the city, but the public safety proposition in the Vision Tulsa tax extension is the fix.
There are 760 Tulsa Police officers, but a study suggests TPD needs 943.
"The more officers we have, it allows us to do our job better," Ballenger said.
Because of the low number, officers are only able to respond to 911 calls, there is no community policing.
But, the more than $200 million proposed in Vision Tulsa would add patrol officers, as well as detectives, school resource officers and traffic cops.
Ballenger said, "Honestly, to just show up, and take a report and do a follow-up investigation is not what we prefer to do. We want to get out there and actively find these people that are committing crimes and put these people in jail."
At a Vision Tulsa meeting Wednesday, city councilors talked about another issue for police and taxpayers.
Tulsa City Councilor, Jeannie Cue said, "We are so short of police officers right now that they're having to work overtime."
A News On 6 review of Tulsa Police records found more than 30 TPD officers earned $20,000 in overtime in 2013, some earning almost half their income in overtime - $65,000 salary, plus $55,000 in overtime.
More officers would also open stations after 4 p.m. and on weekends.
"If you need an officer, the door is locked, and all you can do is punch a button or pick up the handset and call dispatch and wait for an officer to respond," Ballenger said.
The Vision Tulsa vote is part of the April 5th election. The proposal also includes money for firefighters, transportation and economic development.
List Of Vision Tulsa Projects: