They descended en masse on Fairmont Terrace following the quadruple homicide, the Tulsa Police Department doing their best with what they have. But is what they have enough?
"We need more police officers in the city of Tulsa," said Bill Christiansen, his campaign office for mayor newly opened, with the candidate coming out swinging against the incumbent.
"The bottom line is we need more police officers and he's been in office for three years and has not brought the strength up to where the optimum strength should be," he said.
But hold the phone, just last month the department welcomed 39 new cadets, making the force 781 strong, the highest level since 2010, and it's "authorized strength."
And from the Mayor's office Thursday, the following statement; "What we are doing is continuing to focus on these crimes until they are solved. We are working with TPD, the neighborhood associations, apartment managers, crime stoppers and the city council to grow awareness towards proving tips to solve crimes and ending violence. While this event is horrible, we must continue to work towards a complete approach to public safety in Tulsa that will make tragedies like this less likely in the future. Prioritizing public safety includes adequate manpower, which is why we are committing at least one police academy a year to our force; it includes working within the community and neighborhoods; it includes activities outside of school for at risk youth such as our efforts with the churches in Bridges of Faith to One Tulsa; and it certainly includes economic development for the whole community so that each and every Tulsan, no matter where they are from, has an opportunity for gainful employment and way to provide for his or her family. These are the priorities of the Mayor and why public safety means boots on the ground and community involvement. These efforts, all put together, are why Tulsa now has the lowest homicide rate in over a decade."
"Even with that statement , he's not saying that he will immediately try to get more offices on the street," said Christiansen.
And there's this, a report from the city's Public Safety Task Force, presented last month, suggesting that the department is at least 50 officers shy of where it should be.
"It came out December 6th and he's not said one peep about it except, 'Well, find me the money.' Well, a leader sits down and prioritizes the needs of the city and the biggest need of the city is to make citizens feel safe," he said.
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