The Tulsa Police Chief said his department has been losing officers to retirement and other jobs.
Franklin said other law enforcement agencies across the country are also seeing a drop in their force, but Tulsa has some unique challenges: the Department requires more education than most agencies, yet it doesn't pay as much as some around the state. Plus, the department has not been able to go to colleges to recruit because of the pandemic.
Officer Raymond Ackermann, who led his Tulsa Police Academy Class at their graduation in December 2019, shared with us his decision in joining the force. The 38-year-old former Army reservist and Tulsa native said he's always wanted to join the department.
"The challenges of the day, I love coming to work, helping my community," said Ackermann.
Recent studies show law enforcement agencies have been struggling with recruitment due to anti-law enforcement sentiment and lack of interest.
Franklin said his department requires a four-year degree and offers a starting salary of about $49,000 a year.
"I think there are six other departments within the state of Oklahoma that pay more than the Tulsa police department does and requires less education," said Franklin.
The chief also said the department would like to have three academies a year with about 90 officers total graduating, but TPD is below that. He worries the worst is yet to come.
"We always operate on a pipeline that's more than a year out, so it is a long process to get hired on to our department," said Franklin.
Ackermann said despite the pay, there are many great opportunities.
"I wanted to work here, but also it's such a large department with so many different aspects they can focus on, whether it be canine or special investigations or anything else," said Ackermann.
Franklin said the Tulsa Police Department has about 843 officers.
Franklin added there have been discussions on how to make the department's salary and benefits more competitive, but some of that depends on changes at the state level.