Will Hiring Freeze Impact Public Safety? - KTUL.com - Tulsa, Oklahoma - News, Weather & Sports

Will Hiring Freeze Impact Public Safety?

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With sales tax revenues down causing concern to go up, the move from city hall was hiring freeze.

"We've been down this road before and I've had to deal with it before," said mayor Bartlett, describing the action as precautionary, and that it will last for at least the remainder of the current fiscal year. What's the impact on public safety?

"Well any time we hear the city's under a hiring freeze we're concerned because one of our top priorities is putting more police officers on the streets to keep citizens safe," said Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police president Clay Ballenger.

But with just two and a half months left in the fiscal year, cops are optimistic the freeze won't impact staffing levels.

"We don't think it'll affect us because to our knowledge they weren't planning on hiring any new officers before July first anyway," he said.

As for firefighters?

"The hiring freeze won't affect us in the near future because we're up to full strength right now," said Stan May of the Tulsa Fire Department.

And yet, with just two and a half months left in the fiscal year, will things turn around quick enough?

"We do have plans for next year, we're going to request a class and we'll have to see how the budget looks after the end of the fiscal year as to whether we're going to get a class or not," he said.

Hiring freeze, a preemptive move to see how things pan out, with hope that conditions don't deteriorate to the "L" word.

"We're not talking layoffs, what we're talking now is a hiring freeze, and it gives us some breathing room," said mayor Bartlett.

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