The results are in. For months, a private company has been conducting a staffing study of the Midwest City Police Department. Now city leaders are going to have to make some tough decisions.
One of the big recommendations is the department needs more police officers.
“They’ve indicated we need more personnel immediately and over the next five years,” said MWC Police Chief Brandon Clabes.
The report recommends the department hire three more officers immediately, nine total including an additional Community Action Officer that works toward crime prevention.
“The reason for the additional manpower is for us to be proactive during certain time periods of the day,” explained Clabes. “Right now, we’re going call to call in some time during the day and on some days.”
The study also says the city needs a new jail. But fiscally that's not an option, according to Clabes. But the report says some of the issues can be fixed with additional staffing at the jail. In addition, the report recommends decreasing the jail population by offering alternatives to jail time, like community service.
“We spent a significant amount of taxpayers’ money to do this study,” said Mayor Matt Dukes. “It would be bad for us not to take these seriously and start to implement the changes.”
But that will take money. Dukes says it costs the city about $100,000 to hire just one new officer.
“I’m not going to pull a sales tax increase off the table,” he said. “It’s a possibility. Obviously that’s the last thing we want to do, but in order to provide the things the study has suggested, we may have to look at that.”
The city commissioned a fire study as well. Dukes says the study said the way they are currently providing service is adequate.