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02-19-07, 07:00 AM #1Banned
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Report on police efficiency submitted (OK)
So my penny pinching taxpayer self reads this and is glad to see a City Council trying to save some money (which they'll probably use to build statutes of themselves). What say you about these particular recommendations?
Report on police efficiency submitted
By BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer
A City Council panel has studied the department to find ways to get the most out of each dollar spent.
A City Council subcommittee that was formed last fall to find staffing and cost efficiencies in the Tulsa Police Department has sent its recommendations to Mayor Kathy Taylor.
Freeing sworn officers by using civilians in certain jobs, curtailing overtime and changing the city's alarm-response policy are just a few of the suggestions in the group's report.
"Our emphasis is not to take away money or resources from the Police Department's budget but to help maximize what it has," said Councilor Rick Westcott, who led the subcommittee with Councilor Bill Christiansen.
The group, which began meeting in November, included city administrators and Police Department leaders.
Both councilors said they fully supported the 8 percent raises given to police last month, but they said the city needs help to continue funding them.
"It's voodoo economics if we hire officers, train them and then they leave for better-paying cities," Christiansen said.
"The raises were the right thing to do. It was good for morale. It was good for the city. At the same time, we expect them to help us save money."
Taylor's spokeswoman Kim MacLeod said the mayor had received the report and would review it with her staff. It will be presented to the full council in Tuesday's committee meetings.
"I think there's some recommendations that are simple management decisions," Westcott said. "Others, I think, will be for future negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police. But these are areas that need to be explored and studied further."
Police Chief Dave Been said the report contained some "solid recommendations."
"We need to take this and move forward with it," he said.
Brian Barber 581-8322
Employ civilians in some positions that are now staffed by sworn officers in the Property Room, Records Division and other areas over the next five years and move the officers to patrol.
Expand the use of retired police officers, who are paid hourly and do not receive health benefits, in some roles to devote full-time officers to other duties.
Lobby for a change in state law to raise the dollar amount of vehicle damage in a collision that requires police response from $500 to $1,500.
Allow the cityís three uniform divisions to share officers as long as optimum staffing thresholds are met rather than calling in officers to work overtime at a particular division that is short-staffed.
Limit officers who provide security and work overtime for the municipal courts to level-one patrol officers rather than higherpaid supervisors or consider the use of retired officers.
Evaluate the feasibility of adopting GPS technology to improve patrol officer and dispatching efficiency.
Adopt a modified alarm policy that would allow officers to make judgment calls on responding to intrusion alarms but would still require response to robbery, panic and fire alarms.
Study the fuel efficiency of the Police Departmentís vehicles and determine when to sell them to maximize their value.
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