Thursday, January 24th 2013, 8:48 pm
The Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) is calling out Mayor Mick Cornett for something it says he did not address in his State of the City speech on Thursday.
The city's police union says Cornett needs to start acknowledging Oklahoma City's rise in violent crime and the need for more officers on the streets. While the FOP says Oklahoma City has to add more officers, city officials continue looking for ways to slash funding while citizens feel the impact.
"I hear a lot of gunshots at night," Michiyo McCurdy, southwest Oklahoma City resident said. "Sometimes [I hear shots] early in the morning, but I never go out to see what it is."
McCurdy lives in one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of Oklahoma City's southwest side. She says she lives in fear, worrying about her baby and flying bullets.
"Sometimes when I hear [gunshots] during the day, [it's] when [my baby is] eating," McCurdy said. "I'm scared. I might…have to duck down because there's gunshots around."
The FOP says the increase in violent crimes is likely to continue, unless the city acts now.
"It's almost atrocious how low our manpower has got, compared to the size of this city," FOP president John George said. "We haven't grown this police department in 20 years."
The FOP says a rising violent crime rate, a booming population and a frozen police force is a combination for disaster. It is also something officers were hoping would be addressed in Cornett's State of the City speech. They were disappointed.
"I have yet to hear the mayor say we need more police officers," George said.
Cornett was unavailable for comment after his speech Thursday, and the city would not weigh in, only to blame the issue on the budget. In the meantime, the people being affected the most are laying low.
"I usually try not to worry about [the crime] and try to stay away from it," McCurdy said.
Currently, Oklahoma City and the FOP are far apart on reaching common ground. The FOP wants 250 more officers right now. In 2012, the city made room for 33 more officers.
Part of the issue, according to city officials, is that Oklahoma City went two years without filling vacancies in its police department during the Great Recession.
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