City of Tulsa Using Savings From Retirement, Overtime To Rehire Police Officers

Wednesday, June 16th 2010, 5:49 pm
By: News On 6

By Emory Bryan, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- The City of Tulsa is using savings from retirements and overtime cuts to pay for police hirebacks next month.  That's how it's now possible to pay for officers who were laid off four and a half months ago.

The announcement at city council that laid off police officers would be hired back was good news that Jackie Keeler had heard before.

6/15/10 Related Story: Tulsa Mayor Says Laid Off Police Officers To Be Rehired Next Month

She's been laid off twice at TPD.

"This has been one of the most positive things we've heard lately," said Jackie Keeler, Tulsa Police Officer. "Mainly because it's the first time I've heard it come out of the mayor's mouth that we even had a chance of coming back and when I heard that I knew we were moving in the right direction."

Mayor Bartlett praised the police chief for cutting costs at the department that helped pay for the hirebacks.

"Without question getting better control of the overtime charges we've had to endure during the early part of administration and previous administrations, that was a huge amount of money," he said. "We're getting better control of it."

Overtime for police was growing over the last few years but last year soared to $4.3 million dollars.

See how much the Tulsa Police Department has spent on overtime

Union concessions and better scheduling have cut back overtime to stay within the budget, a savings of $1 million in one year. That money is helping put Brent Barnhart back to work.

"Tulsa is my home, this is where I chose to work," Officer Barnhart said. "So I'm grateful to have the opportunity to come back to work."

Barnhart has been a reserve officer as well and never considered going somewhere else.

"I'm looking forward to getting back out there and helping carry the work load those guys are carrying right now and contributing to keeping the citizens safe," he said.