Editorial: Is it time to increase TPD's numbers?
BY World's Editorials Writers
Saturday, January 19, 2013
1/19/13 at 12:07 PM
"... Sometimes it's just about money." - Tulsa Police Chuck Jordan
Unfortunately, the chief is correct. Increasing staffing levels for any department in local, state or federal government is almost always about money, something the city has not had much of in recent years.
Five years ago, a respected independent consulting agency recommended that TPD hire 58 additional officers, create 40 civilian positions (to relieve officers from administrative jobs) and increase the time officers spend on proactive policing and administrative duties.
The recession hit. Not only did TPD not get the staff the consultant recommended but ended up losing officers and only recently has rebuilt its numbers.
Now that the city is rebounding it's time to assess whether the department needs to grow. Given the major crimes that have occurred lately, the public is eager to have an adequate number of police officers on the streets. The operative word here is adequate. What is an adequate number to make Tulsa safer?
"I've pushed regularly to get more and more people. I think everybody in city government wants us to have more people, but sometimes it's just about money," Jordan said this week.
Tulsa City Councilor G.T. Bynum had requested an update from Jordan on staffing, a dusting off of the consultant's 2008 report.
The level of staffing recommended would have cost $7 million and Jordan says it would have taken up to two years to make staffing changes.
TPD recently has made modest progress in staffing levels, graduating one police academy with another planned for this spring if funding is available. Thanks to Bynum for bringing this subject up - that's where an institutional memory is helpful - and to Jordan for trying to come up with an answer.
We hope, for public safety's sake, that this isn't the last we hear on this topic.
Original Print Headline: Numbers game