Tulsa Police looking at budget cuts

Tuesday, May 6th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa's Police chief met for two hours Tuesday afternoon with his top staff members to figure out whom to cope with massive budget cutbacks.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright talked to the chief moments after that meeting and says the good news is no police officers will get laid off. But, the bad news is the department is going to lose a lot officers who retire and they won't be replaced.

So that means, you gotta take officers out of specialty units and put them on the streets answering 911 calls. Some specialty units will shrink, others will disappear completely. That includes units like the horse officers, the undercover officers who investigate drugs, the burglary detectives. That manpower must switch to the streets so the basics can be covered.

Chief Dave Been, Tulsa Police: "We're gonna do everything we can not to compromise safety. But, there will be some inconveniences. So, will citizens be less safe? We hope not. Will they be inconvenienced? I guarantee it."

Which means you'll wait longer for a cop if you report a property crime and you'll have to report more crimes yourself, over the phone.

Now, the one squad the chief says he will not cut back on is the child crisis unit; the chief's top priorities have always been children and the elderly. He says there aren't enough detectives to work all those cases as it is.