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.