Norman Police Chief Requests 9 Positions Be Brought Back To Department, Cites Uptick In Crime

Norman Police Chief Kevin Foster has approached city council to request nine positions within the department be brought back. The positions went unfilled in June 2020 when protesters demanded the department be ‘defunded.’

Thursday, October 21st 2021, 10:44 pm



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Norman Police Chief Kevin Foster has approached city council to request 9 positions within the department be brought back.

The positions went unfilled in June 2020 by a city council vote when protesters demanded the department be ‘defunded.’

Foster is asking the positions be brought back to help address an uptick in crime like many communities are facing across the country.

Chief Foster says the uptick in crimes begins with the city’s homeless population.

“There is a criminal element within our homeless community that has taken advantage of the people that are there and are committing crimes in our community,” said Foster.

In a presentation Tuesday to city officials, since September 1st, the City of Norman has seen an 11% increase in major felony crimes against people. Aggravated assaults, like shootings stabbings, rose by 19 percent and the city has seen double the number of stolen vehicles reported.

“Our auto accidents are sonically up, that is an effect of COVID-19 and just officers not having enough time to work traffic, so our contacts are down,” said Foster. “Our injury accidents are up and we want to reduce that. That does the most social harm in our community.”

It’s unclear what each role would look like if the 9 eliminated positions are brought back. 

Focus has remained on the department’s Community Service Outreach Division, a community-oriented type of policing. It was the city’s response in June 2020 to demands by protestors of police brutality that the police budget be cut.

“I think the council is supportive of this, I haven’t heard anyone who is not,” said Norman Mayor, Breea Clark. “I found out about this in September at the mayor’s roundtable and was very pleased to see these changes and we looked forward to leading the state with our police department with this changes.”

Foster says the Norman Police Department as of today remains understaffed. The department is working to fill 9 open positions.

According to city officials, the applicant pool for the police department is down by half.

Increasing officers pay is something that is being looked into as a possible incentive to join the Norman Police Department.

 



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