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Up to 135 police officers and 130 firefighters could be laid off.

Discussion in 'Cop Talk' started by ronduke, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. ronduke

    ronduke

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    Okla. firefighters rally against layoffs

    By Deon J. Hampton
    The Tulsa World

    TULSA, Okla. — Anthony Payne spent his second anniversary as a Tulsa firefighter Saturday protesting against the possibility that he may lose his job.

    "I'm on the chopping block," said Payne, 30, who is married with two children.

    Payne and about 140 other firefighters, police officers and concerned citizens rallied at 41st Street and Yale Avenue to show their opposition to possible layoffs.

    As city officials look for ways to fill a huge budget hole, the Tulsa Police Department could have to trim spending by as much as $3.4 million for the remainder of this fiscal year, and the Fire Department may have to cut up to $2.5 million.

    The fiscal year ends June 30. Up to 135 police officers and 130 firefighters could be laid off.

    "We can't afford to lose one officer or firefighter," said one of the protesters, Ann Wilkerson, who is the mother-in-law of a police officer and the aunt of a firefighter.

    "Tulsa used to be a safe place, but now people are afraid to walk to the grocery store by themselves," she said. "Our public safety is first."

    Several passing cars honked in support of the demonstrators, who stood in 25-degree weather holding signs that read "Support TFD," "Make a 911 Call to City Council No Layoff," and "Firefighters Save Lives, Help Keep Them on the Job."

    Amy Haddock, 36, of Collinsville said that her husband, a firefighter, is one of those who might be laid off.

    Payne, saying that his livelihood hangs in the balance, said that he hopes for a quick and positive resolution.

    "I'll do what I have to do to feed my family," he said.

    Phil Evans, the president of Tulsa's Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 93, said that for its size, Tulsa could use 60 to 200 more officers.

    "We don't have enough officers," he said.

    A Web site has been launched for tracking stories and information on the possible layoffs. It is available at tulsaworld.com/safetulsa.
     
  2. SPDSNYPR

    SPDSNYPR Zippy's Friend.

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    Incredible. Tulsa is hurting enough already. Oddly, none of Tulsa's suburbs have these problems - because they didn't mismanage thier money for years.
     

  3. COLOSHOOTR

    COLOSHOOTR

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    Well sounds like the same problem with money management we had. We had the DNC here and got a ton of money for that. It's all gone! Supposedly there was no increased tax revenue from the event... I find that hard to believe. We still had to cut $10 million from our budget. They keep sending Officers to the airport to hide them on the federal budget but are now leaving us short staffed on the street. They were going to lay off officers unless we gave up the raises in our contract even thouh they recieved $ 7 million in Fed. Stimulous money that they lied about and did not let us know they had till after we gave up our raises (first decent one we've gotten in years) to save fellow officers jobs. Okay I'm done ranting now....
     
  4. Hack

    Hack Crazy CO Gold Member

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    Utter nonsense on the part of cities to attack emergency services first to save the bottom dollar.
     
  5. Indy_Guy_77

    Indy_Guy_77 Thread Killer

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    I hate that anyone would have to lose their jobs... Honest.

    My wife's employer might have to lay off 125-150 people, all by seniority. There aren't 125 people below my wife...

    My employer is in dire financial straights, too, and is hoping to get by with cutting by attrition only. The Big Boss might decide to cut people in spite of it.

    However unlikely it is, should operations of any of these gov't and quasi-gov't NOT be affected by layoffs should they happen... Then wouldn't it stand to reason that those agencies were "over-staffed" to begin with?

    Gov't doesn't exist to provide people jobs...and should be as efficient with taxpayer dollars as the rest of us are with our dollars.

    Not trying to argue one way or another, just a slightly different view.

    -J-
     
  6. seanmcp

    seanmcp CLM

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    The problem is, when unemployment and people start committing burglaries who normally wouldn't, so does *crime*, and when unemployment goes up and people quit paying their electric bill and use candles wo normally wouldn't, so do *fires*, so that's when even keeping 'just' the 'old' number of officers even if they were 'overstaffed' would mean they're all that much busier (and few agencies are ever overstaffed), so cutting their numbers means it's now beyond critical.
     
  7. lawman800

    lawman800 Juris Glocktor

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    It just keeps getting better, don't it?
    Just found out today that our budget projections might be twice as bad as the #s I got yesterday... if it keeps going at this rate, by the end of the week, we'll have to sell off our buildings and lots just to be even money!
     
  8. Dukeboy01

    Dukeboy01 Pretty Ladies!

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    We're getting some of this same crap in Lexington as well. Supposedly "everything" is on the table, including layoffs of police and firefighters. I think it's crap. The economy in Lexington is actually doing better than a lot of other places. Throw in the fact that it's an election year and that Lexington is hosting the World Equestrian Games in September and the chances of any cop or firefighter actually losing their job is somewhere between not going to happen and absolutely not going to happen.
     
  9. Indy_Guy_77

    Indy_Guy_77 Thread Killer

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    Yes, I understand that as well.

    Fiddling with the numbers of Public Safety personnel is never easy. Never easy at all.
     
  10. wprebeck

    wprebeck Got quacks?

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    I have said before, and stand by it wholeheartedly -

    There shouldn't be ONE government worker who loses their job, while there are still social programs paying people to do nothing. When the fat of welfare in all its wonderful forms is cut, THEN you can look at trimming down jobs that belong to people who actually go to work. If you punch a clock for a living, and people live in your community for free, you shouldn't be worried about a damn thing.

    And yeah, I know that most welfare programs are run by state government and not local agencies. Well, there's enough nonsense sponsered by the locals to start cutting, before you get to people who -

    A - Work for a living

    B - Actually risk their lives for the community they live in, when they go to work.

    Public safety whould be the VERY LAST THING that government cuts. The city leaders should take pay cuts, before laying off public safety. Programs for the homeless should go bye-bye. Public safety is one of the very few things government SHOULD provide, thus it should be the very last thing that suffers from budget cuts.
     
  11. trifecta

    trifecta

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    I would like to nominate brother wprebeck for President of the United States.
     
  12. Deployment Solu

    Deployment Solu Kydex Crafter

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    :goodpost::agree: And would add we should be cutting politicians jobs. They are the reason we are in the mess we are in.....they just don't get it.
     
  13. wprebeck

    wprebeck Got quacks?

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    Well.....I have something of a "plan" for when I'm elected "Benevolent, fiscally responsible Dictator for Life" of our country. :supergrin:

    Don't worry all that much about the "dictator" part. It won't really apply to normal folks that work for a living, raise their kids, etc. It'll just really suck to be the person who lives on welfare - mainly because welfare will cease to exist about three seconds after I take office.


    I truly depise people who live off the government, and don't punch a clock. After working in the government for just shy of a decade, I understand that there are numerous positions which could likely be eliminated, merged with other positions, etc. But, before I'd touch ANY of those positions, even the most wasteful...I'd stop every single welfare program out there, with a plan in place that would actually HELP people who needed it, while leaving the generations that have sucked at welfare out in the literal cold.

    Lawsuits wouldn't be a problem because, well..because I'd be the dictator and all. :wavey: I have many more elements of "the plan", as well. From national defense (screw with us, and we kill you dead, whatever it takes to do it), to capital punishment (umm...yeah....the guillotine would make a return, as it's much more cost effective than other means of execution) to the welfare of children (if you're a crackhead, you have zero rights to have a kid...someone out there wants kids, and they'll get yours).

    So, when can we vote me in?
     
  14. Sharkey

    Sharkey

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    Well you do have a point. The problem lies in that most emergency services are not over staffed. Most operate understaffed. Our minimum staffing was pretty pathetic. You're right that Govt. doesn't exist to create jobs and in fact when Govt intervenes, more jobs are usually lost. Their is a public sector need and it seems that they are usually the second string to get cut. What normally doesn't get cut are the people at the top who determine who gets cut. They have mis-manged funds in needless programs and if they cut those, they lose a significant portion of their voter base. It happens at a Fed., state, and county, and local level.

    Yet, the masses continue to vote for them anyway. Govt. doe need to be trimmed, just not at the lower levels.
     
  15. faceplant

    faceplant

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    That really sucks but if the city does not have the money then what are they to do? Borrow the money? We have been lucky so far, public safety is the last to be touched but furloughs are scheduled. I agree with wprebeck but we know that ain't gonna happen.
     
  16. Singlestack Wonder

    Singlestack Wonder

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    No jobs should be untouchable in a poor econmy, not even LEO's.
     
  17. thorn137

    thorn137 Walther

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    The highest expense in any business is payroll. And government is one of the largest businesses there is.

    Nearly 100% of any city's revenues are taxes. When citizens have no jobs, or get their wages cut - taxes go down, and revenue follows. Every sector of American business is suffering; it's only been a matter of time until the government employees were subjected to layoffs as well.

    Last month, the city of Cincinnati (also facing the layoffs of 100+ officers) suggested eliminating the mounted patrol, and saving $1 Million in the process. Put the officers on walk patrols. The department argued against it, as they like their horse patrols. The city asked the union to take a dept-wide paycut, to save every job... and the union said no.

    I'm guessing these people think money just appears from thin air, or that the budget committees will just keep extending the city's borrowing. This isn't going to happen. Just as in the private sector, people are going to have to live in reality. And while I'm sorry for the 100+ that may lose their jobs, I hope they'll save a bit of bitterness for the other 1000 that didn't - the ones that said, "No I won't take a paycut. I'd rather someone lose their job."

    thorn
     
  18. seanmcp

    seanmcp CLM

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    I'd rather save bitterness for government handout programs that didn't get cut (and could have been) before services like Police and Fire, since we still pay for lawn mowing, snow removal, garbage pickup, etc when we have record numbers of folks who get money for standing in lines. I'd rather have 'unemployed' or 'underprivileged' out doing something productive for the funds, freeing up money from the system to pay these folks, who can't be replaced by unskilled labor.
     
  19. ronduke

    ronduke

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    Tulsa Police Veterans Back on Streets; Deputies Prep to Help, Too
    TULSA WORLD

    Many senior Tulsa police officers feel like rookies on the beat as they fill the patrol shifts left vacant by the 124 officers who were laid off.

    They say the biggest challenge has been quickly adjusting their lives to the schedules previously held by the younger officers, which means late-night and graveyard shifts and days off in the middle of the week.

    Officer Danielle Bishop said she was panic-stricken when she learned she might be transferred out of the Sex Crimes Unit — where she worked the day shift — and assigned to the graveyard shift at the Riverside Division in south and west Tulsa.

    Bishop is married to Tulsa Police Sgt. Mike Parsons, who worked nights, and their schedules allowed them to care for their three children, ages 6, 10 and 11.

    "I was in a panic mode when I found out this was going to happen. You can't just find a baby sitter to stay with your kids all night long," Bishop said.

    Bishop and Parsons don't have extended family in Tulsa and were making emergency arrangements to have Parsons' mother move here temporarily to take care of the children. As it has worked out, Parsons' schedule was changed to the day shift when the transfers took effect.

    Bishop, who hasn't worked graveyard since 1995, said the weeks of uncertainty as to whether she would be transferred have been grueling.

    "To be honest, I can't imagine how these young officers who thought they might be laid off felt with all of the back and forth. One day you would hear you were going to the field, and the next day you were not," Bishop said.

    Officer Marnie Waller has been out of the field for more than eight years while she has been assigned to the Child Crisis Unit and, more recently, the Sex Crimes Unit.

    Now Waller, who is the primary caretaker for her 86-year-old grandmother, works 9:15 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. at the Mingo Valley Division in east Tulsa.

    "It has been kind of rough, but we are managing," she said.

    Technology has changed since Waller left the field. Police cars are now equipped with computers, and officers have had to adapt to using them while on patrol.

    Working in the field can be rewarding and exciting, Waller said. During one of her shifts last week, she and other officers caught four burglars just minutes after the officers' squad meeting.

    But the sex-crimes cases she had to leave abruptly still weigh on her mind.

    "It is hard to hand those over to another detective and have them try to pick up where you left off," Waller said. "Hopefully, things will be worked out, and the young officers will have their jobs back. I have cases sitting on my desk right now."

    The basics of policing have not changed much, said Officer Chris Elliott, who has been on the force nearly 21 years.

    "We are going to the same type of calls, domestic disturbances, alarms calls, fights . . . calls every officer on this police department is trained to deal with," Elliott said.

    Elliott has been assigned for the last two years at the Tulsa Police Training Center as a training coordinator, so he is well acquainted with the rookie officers who lost their jobs. After the layoffs, he was transferred to third shift at Gilcrease Division, patrolling the city's north side. He starts his 10-hour day at 4 p.m.

    Elliott spent 17 years of his career on patrol and believes Tulsans are still receiving the same response to emergencies despite the layoffs.

    "We are still putting uniforms on the front porch when someone calls 911."

    The biggest change for him has been the days off, which are now Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday — opposite of his wife's schedule.

    "I have not had those days off in 15 years. It has been a big adjustment," Elliott said. Yet, the officers are dedicated to filling any of the roles they are assigned, he said.

    "The core of what this department is are the field officers. That is what we are all trained to do," Elliott said. "We all understand that what is necessary is to provide our community with a safe environment, and we don't have any problem at all doing that."
     
  20. ronduke

    ronduke

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    Tulsa County sheriff’s officials are preparing deputies to handle an anticipated increase in calls to some crimes and collisions that Tulsa police are no longer responding to, Sheriff Stanley Glanz said Friday.

    Although the Sheriff’s Office is already staying busy with its regular calls, Glanz said his office will keep its longtime policy of responding any time someone in Tulsa County requests a deputy.

    In the wake of 124 officer layoffs, the Tulsa Police Department announced Thursday that its officers temporarily will not respond to reports of fraud, forgery, larceny, car break-ins and noninjury traffic accidents unless the crime is still unfolding or other circumstances exist.

    The Police Department will still take reports via Internet, telephone, walk-in or mail and will assign them to investigators, police officials said.

    To meet the needs of Tulsa County residents, Glanz said, sheriff’s deputies are “refamiliarizing” themselves with how to handle collisions, which normally are worked by police in the cities in which they occur or by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol if outside city limits.

    Glanz said his office will not do the Tulsa Police Department’s job — and can’t because of the manpower needed — but he said his deputies are obligated to taxpayers to respond when they are called.

    “The agency won’t respond just because Tulsa police won’t,” Glanz said, explaining that a caller would have to specifically request a deputy before one would be sent. “We will cover as much as we can with what we have.”

    People are still urged to contact the police through the new procedures rather than call the Sheriff’s Office, Tulsa Police Officer Jason Willingham said.

    “(If) this happened inside the city, it’s our issue; it’s our crime,” he said.

    Although the changeover has been relatively smooth, some residents have been concerned about the new system, Tulsa Police Capt. Jonathan Brooks said.

    “There’s been a lot of phone calls and a lot of questions,” he said. “This is new for everybody — not only for us, but it’s new for the citizens, too.”

    Brooks noted that some of the lower priority crimes, such as larceny, are often tough to solve, regardless of how quickly an officer responds. Without physical evidence or a suspect at the scene, the thieves often slip away, he said.

    “Those have a very, very low clearance rate,” he said.

    Even when the Police Department is fully staffed, callers with lower-priority calls often wait, sometimes for hours, while officers work on violent crimes that pose a public safety threat, Willingham said. By cutting in-person responses to lower-priority calls, officers can concentrate on more pressing emergencies despite the layoffs, he said.

    As police layoffs approached in late January, then-Police Chief Ron Palmer said the department would “keep our core services and 911 calls intact.”

    Saying he planned to shift personnel from divisions and units such as training, investigations, administration and planning to patrol so that field operations were covered, Palmer said that “we don’t believe the public in general will see a change in street coverage.”

    Mayor Dewey Bartlett accepted Palmer’s resignation on Jan. 22 and appointed Chuck Jordan, then a Tulsa County sheriff’s Capt., as interim police chief.

    Bartlett broached the possibility of having deputies assist the Police Department in December, when he asked Glanz to come up with a plan.

    Palmer said at the time that the Sheriff’s Office’s help would not be needed, and Jordan reiterated that Thursday.

    “There is no plan to bring the Sheriff’s Office into the city to do policing,” Jordan said then.

    Under the Police Department’s new policy, victims can use three main avenues to file crime reports. Police said the department’s Web site is the fastest and most efficient method.

    “That’s the most efficient and most streamlined because … it goes immediately into our records system,” Brooks said.

    The second method involves a “telephone report officer” — essentially an officer who collects information by phone rather than face-to-face. This method of accepting crime reports allows officers who are injured or otherwise unable to patrol to collect information, Brooks said.

    “The only difference is now we’re having that same process being conducted over the phone,” he said. “There’s no difference in the officer asking the question in person or … over the phone.”

    The last option entails the department’s sending a report form to a victim by mail. Brooks also noted that the changes are temporary and designed to help the agency cope with the layoffs. Officials are working to restructure the department and improve manpower levels, he said.