City Of Dewey Cuts Back On Police Hours To Save Money
DEWEY, Oklahoma - Police officers in the City of Dewey are being forced to cut back on their hours after several hits to the city budget.
The city is doing what it can to stay afloat, but some said this is the worst it's been in years.
The City of Dewey has about 3,500 people and operates on a budget of about $1.2 million, and the police force makes up $700,000 of that. This year, the police department has taken multiple hits.
Dewey Police officer Jimmy Gray grew up in the small Washington County town.
"It's a great little town," Gray said.
He served his country and now serves as a school resource officer.
As of June, he and the rest of the department will have to cut back their hours from 40 to 36 per week, a first for the veteran of the force.
"No, not in the last ten years, this is definitely a new one," he said.
City Manager Kevin Trease said over the last two years, they've taken one hit after another with sales tax in the city down by $180,000.
Since January, the cost of providing healthcare for city employees has nearly doubled.
"We froze the budget several months ago and it seemed to help," Trease said.
But it wasn't enough as furloughs soon followed.
"We're doing four hours a week, so 16 hours a month, and we're just doing it for one month on each division," he said.
Trease doesn't know how long they'll have to be pinching pennies before more drastic measures will have to be taken, but he said one thing that would help is folks eating and shopping in Dewey instead of the few minutes south in Bartlesville.
No matter what happens, they don't want to have to cut back on services.
Especially when it comes to safety.
"Giving back to the community, giving back to a community that I grew up in and that's one of the main reasons why I stay here."