More officers needed, police say

Thursday, February 14th 2008, 11:29 pm
By: News 9

By Mary Joseph, NEWS 9

Oklahoma City Police officers said they want to see more people on their force.

A consulting firm is conducting a $239,000 manpower study of the department. Officers expect to see their report within the next month, but they're confident Oklahoma City is in need of more officers.

Officer Richard Steele said many nights are non-stop for him.

"There are some days that we will be busy the whole time," he said.

Busy is good for officers, but too busy is not, said Randy Kirby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police.

"It makes it difficult to be proactive when they are doing nothing but reacting," he said.

 "I think everybody expects the survey to say we need more police officers."

In 1990 the official population in Oklahoma City was 444,719 and there were 842 authorized officers on the police force.

During the next 16 years, Oklahoma City grew by about 930,000 people and 190 positions were added to the police department.

"The bottom line in our opinion is yes, we need more police officers on the street," Kirby said.

Police Chief Bill Citty said response times are acceptable currently in Oklahoma City, but said he wants to see his department grow.

"We are not sacrificing safety for the police officers or the public at this point, but we want to make sure we are keeping up with the pace, the growth," the chief said.

The consulting firm, Berkshire Advisors, also recently did reviews in the Ardmore Police Department and the Dallas Fire Department.