The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is dozens of agents short of where its staffing level ought to be for all the cases it fields around the state.
Budgetary cuts during the last decade resulted in attrition throughout the agency, heavily affecting investigators, OSBI Director Rick Adams said.
But “we’re on a really good path to really have us reestablished back to where we need to be,” Adams said.
Budget cuts have affected the agency since the early ’90s. Adams said that in the past year, legislators have contributed additional funding to bring the OSBI’s staffing levels up to match the agency’s case load.
The OSBI had about 75 field agents as of Wednesday, but Adams said the agency is “rapidly” rebuilding.
Agency officials hope to have around 90 agents by the end of the year, he said. Ideally, though, the OSBI would have about 130 field agents, he added.
“That’s to handle the case load that comes in from around the state,” Adams said. “The case load stayed the same” during the years of budget cuts. “If you look at why cases go cold sometimes, it’s just because you get run over by the immediacy of what happened today.”
Smaller police departments and sheriff’s offices frequently rely on the agency’s resources to assist in investigations. The agency’s caseload can easily number in the thousands.
Adams offered the information during a media day in Tulsa, where officials discussed the different roles the OSBI fills.
The agency is aiming to increase its laboratory and technical capabilities, as well, Adams said.
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