Oklahoma Lawmakers Get To Work On 'Back The Blue' Legislation

Tuesday, July 21st 2020, 4:25 pm

Oklahoma lawmakers get to work to back law enforcement across Oklahoma amid recent protests.

State Rep. Kyle Hilbert, R-Bristow, and state Sen. James Leewright, R-Bristow, call the new piece of legislation, "Back the Blue."

“We have an aging workforce in law enforcement and as these individuals retire, it's going to be incredibly difficult to recruit police officers for the last decade,” Hilbert said.

Hilbert said he and Leewright plan to look at ways to increase pay for state troopers, create better retirement plans for state and county deputies, help city police departments and also help compensate family members who have lost an officer in the line of duty.

"I hope we show young men and women in Oklahoma that if you put blue uniform, we are going to support you,” Hilbert said.

Hilbert said he expects to see push-back, but he's not concerned that they won't take the new bill to the finish line.

"Through and through for the most part we support law enforcement in Oklahoma,” Hilbert said.

However, where the extra funding will come from is still unclear at this time, but Hilbert said he would be pleased even if it’s a small amount.

“We've got to do something to get the ball rolling," he said.

Hilbert hopes to send a message to other states, too.

"If you're a police officer in another state that's not supporting you, come to Oklahoma, because we will," he said.

Hilbert said Oklahoma can expect to see a lot of new law enforcement legislation filed next year, but if anything gets passed, it will not go into effect until fall 2021.