City Leaders Work To Fix Tulsa’s Shortage Of Police Officers

Thursday, April 22nd 2021, 9:15 pm
By: Chinh Doan

TULSA, Oklahoma -

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said there is a critical need for officers.

"We will have to make tough decisions on exactly what it is we're going to respond to, what crimes are we going to investigate?” explained Franklin. “That's where all of this is leading to.”

The chief said the department’s goal is to have each academy graduate at least 30 officers.

22 officers graduated from Tulsa's police academy last week, and for the next academy, there are only 10 viable applicants so far.

Related Story: Tulsa Police Dept. Looking To Hire More Officers, Says Recruitment Down

Mayor G.T. Bynum's budget proposal this week includes money to grow the department.

Related Story: Mayor Bynum Presents Proposed $799 Million Budget For City Of Tulsa

"Our plan for fiscal year 2023, we get back to that 90-officer a year academy approach to move us toward the goal of 950 patrol officers," said Bynum.

Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police president Jeff Downs told News On 6 paying officers more would help.

"We are the second largest city in the state of Oklahoma, but we're the eighth in pay,” explained Downs. “If you bring the pay up, you'd encourage people to recruit here."

Chief Franklin said he believes recent national events have created negative stigma, leading to some officers retiring or quitting and discouraging others to go into law enforcement.

City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper, who is married to a TPD officer, said she believes the department needs to change the culture, which could take years.

"We have to put policies in place that's going to build trust and accountability,” said Hall-Harper. “That is having an office of independent monitor with the ability to investigate."

Hall-Harper also said council members have no power to change the department's policies.

Franklin said leaders are discussing changes, including whether to drop the four-year-degree requirement for officers, allowing more people to be eligible to apply.

For more information on TPD’s recruitment, click here.