Friday, October 02, 2009

City Council Makes the Right Call

Although it was not unanimous, the Tulsa City Council yesterday voted 7-2 in favor of taking the "Community Oriented Policing Services" grant of $3.5 million. This will pay for 18 new TPD officers for 3 years with the stipulation that the city pay for them for at least one additional year.

The controversy stems from our current and near-future expected budget shortfalls, resulting in city employee furloughs and cuts in city services. This move requires our cash-strapped city to come up with about $400,000 immediately to cover the cost of hiring and training the new officers, and over $1 million at the end of three years to pay for the one additional year. So how will we pay for it?

Well this much is certain, we all agree that public safety is something that our government should be in the business of doing. And we agree that crime is an issue in Tulsa. The addition of 18 new officers will be a big boost to public safety in Tulsa. And remember, Tulsa Public Schools now has their own police department, complete with a chief of police. More police equals more criminals off our streets.

A safer Tulsa will be a place that people want to come. With Tulsa as a destination point, we will gradually see our sales tax base rise. More unchecked crime will see just the opposite.

Our courts and justice system have a pivotal role to play too. We must not only get criminals off our streets, but keep them off. It's high time the pendulum of justice swing back to punishment for offenses from the current mantra of rehabilitation and coddling.

This was a tough decision, but the right decision and it shows the direction of leadership Tulsa desperately needs.

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