Judge Puts Tulsa Police Department's Term Limits On Hold

Friday, June 18th 2010, 12:45 pm
By: News On 6


TULSA, OK -- A Tulsa County District Court judge issued a temporary restraining order Friday to stop term limits from going into effect at the Tulsa Police Department.

The temporary restraining order is in effect until October 1.

Read the petition for the temporary restraining order 

Term limits require all Tulsa Police officers who have served 15 years in a specialty unit to leave and go back to patrol.

The Fraternal Order of Police asked the judge two days ago to stop the term limits from taking effect this August.

6/15/2010 Related Story: Judge To Rule On Tulsa FOP Restraining Order Request On Friday

The new policy was approved in May as part of an agreement between the City of Tulsa and the black officers coalition to settle a 16-year-old racial discrimination lawsuit.

The police union believe the term limits violate the collective bargaining portion of their contract with the city and state labor laws. The union wanted time to sort that out and now, has it.

"I'm happy and happy for the citizens of Tulsa," said Sergeant Mike Huff, Tulsa Police.

Sergeant Mike Huff is one of 16 officers on the department affected by term limits. After 28 years in homicide, he would've been back to answering routine police calls, come August.

As would two other homicide detectives, Mark Kennedy and Jeff Felton. Two more would've been forced out next year.

They all believe it should be based on job performance and worried about having only a handful of experienced detectives left in a squad that investigates the city's worst crimes.

"It wasn't well thought out or thought through at all," Sergeant Huff said. "And this gives us a chance to get it before the right people to hear it and decide what to do next."

The idea behind term limits was to give all officers a better opportunity to get into units, like homicide, robbery, burglary, sex crimes, child crisis and narcotics.

The City of Tulsa had argued the state court should not issue the order because term limits had already been approved by a federal judge. 

The City and BOC filed for and got an order from the federal judge who approved the settlement, to stop the union from moving forward. The union has until next Thursday to respond.