Police Chief Wants More Hires Following Report Findings

Friday, February 13th 2009, 8:40 pm

By: News 9

By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Manpower is a problem at the Oklahoma City Police Department and while the chief said he's had the same number of employees for the last 20 years, a new report said the solution is to hire more officers.

Chief Bill Citty said he needs the resources to do even more.

"We have more calls for service," Chief Citty said. "We have more need to have more officers respond to those calls."

Citty offered his perspective and the results of a manpower study to city council. The chief wants the department to be more proactive and improve response times. When a person's life or safety is in danger the department's goal is to respond in nine minutes and 12 seconds, 90 percent of the time. Right now, that happens 70 percent of the time.

The study recommends increasing staff by as many as 316, with a price tag of nearly $31 million. Mayor Mick Cornett wants to take more time to make a decision.

"I just think we're jumping to conclusions if we think we need to raise taxes to build in more officers," Mayor Cornett said. "I just am not there yet."

Cornett said a citizen survey shows residents are pleased with the current amount of public safety. He recommends looking at schedules and how the department operates before hiring more people.

"I remain unconvinced that we've addressed all the inefficiencies that are in our current system," Mayor Cornett said.

Chief Citty said the department is efficient, he just needs manpower.

"I feel very, very confident that there's very few areas that we can make significant change enough that would give us the resources that we think we need to be able to better police the city," Citty said.

The study has several different options to fix this issue, including hiring people and shifting schedules.

The city council will review it and decide what action they want to take.


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