In a meeting inside the Deer Creek School Administration building, dozens of concerned residents packed in on Thursday night to hear what will happen to patrols in their neighborhoods by the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office after budget cuts and a recent string of home break ins.
“I'm not sure that the sheriff's office ever had a meeting like this,” Acting Oklahoma County Sheriff P.D. Taylor told the crowd of nearly 70. “There's nothing more important to the sheriff's office than the public safety of you all and the safety of your children.”
But Taylor quickly moved on, hoping to garner support against the county commission which voted against the his budget… and it seemed to work.
“Contact this list of people! That's where the rubber really meets the road is if we put pressure on...” one man in the crowd said.
“Who built that thing and most of all who signed off on it?” Roger Harms said. “Sounds like it's been a turkey from the very beginning. I want some names!”
Harms said he had experience working in “super-max” prison facilities and serves on a number of community boards in Edmond. He said he was there to hear from Taylor just how bad things are at the jail.
“It's a big job and he needs some help. He needs some operational funds in his own words," Harms said.
The acting sheriff says commissioners shorted him more than $800,000. Money, he said, was supposed to be used to help run the county jail which has long been overcrowded and falling apart. Understaffed and overwhelmed, the jail in many cases has turned into a nightmare scenario, one Taylor is hoping a grassroots effort will help change.
The vote was 4-3 to cut the budget. Brian Maughan, Rick Warren, David Hooten, and Larry Stein voted for the cuts. Ray Vaughn, Willa Johnson, and Butch Freeman voted against.