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Police Need More Officers To Keep Up With City's Growth.
New Census Bureau estimates show the Oklahoma City metro is now home to nearly 1.3 million people.
“Oklahoma city itself is growing over 1000 residents a month,” said John George, President of The Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police.
But what is not growing: the number of police officers.
“We have the same number of officers on the street or even less than we had 20 years ag,” said George.
George said the city currently funds nearly 1,100 officers but needs about 1,300 to meet the demand of the growing population.
“We need to keep trying to hire officers.”
“We know police is an important function. We know citizens want to live in a safe and secure community. We want to provide that and we're doing what we can to add to that staffing,” said Oklahoma City Budget Director, Doug Dowler
Hiring more than 200 officers doesn't come cheap. Dowler said it would cost about 19-million dollars. Money Dowler said the city doesn't have.
“Oklahoma is one of the few states where all we have is sales tax for operations. We don't have access to property tax for operations.”
The city's general fund pays for most of the officers. Dowler said a three-quarter cent sales tax pays for the rest.
“That funds over 200 police officers as well as pay increases and those sorts of things for police officers.”
George says that is not enough.
“You can't just go off the growth of sales tax. I mean that will not supply enough budget money for 200 plus officers. You're going to have to find some sort of designated funding to hire that many officers.
“If it’s a new fund or new sales tax that’s something that would have to be voted on by the citizens. The city council or city employees we can't enact that.”
Many folks would like to see more officers on the streets...
“There’s not as much coverage in the city as it is,” said Lori Dickow of Oklahoma City.
But some say the 19-million dollar price tag is just too much.
“I definitely thing that is a little far-fetched,” said Daisy Devecchio.
Oklahoma City added 33 officers last year. The city is working on a budget for next fiscal year. It will go to city council on April 30th.
Posted: Friday, March 15 2013, 09:54 PM CDT
IN OKLAHOMA NEWS
Obama says nation must do more for fallen heroes
May 25, 2013 10:08 GMT
By DARLENE SUPERVILLE Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says the nation must do more than just remember its fallen heroes on Memorial Day.
In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama says the country must care for the loved ones the fallen leave behind. He says the country must also make sure that all veterans receive the care and benefits they have earned.
Obama says that, above all, the armed forces must have the support needed to carry out their missions at home and abroad.
In the Republican address, Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe thanks the nation for its prayers and support following Monday's deadly tornado in his home state. He recalls past natural and man-made disasters in Oklahoma and says that while the state was hard hit, "we're not knocked out."
Obama's address: http://www.whitehouse.gov Republican address: http://www.youtube.com/gopweeklyaddress
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