Owasso police concerned about stagnate numbers as city population grows

OWASSO - "To protect and serve" is their motto but Owasso police officers feel "survive and re-act" is more accurate.

According to Owasso’s Fraternal Order of Police President the city hasn't hired much in the last decade as it boomed; however the city doesn't think it's an issue.

Right now, FOP is in talks with Owasso’s city manager to hire more officers so they don't want to step on any toes.

But with four shootings, a rash of break-ins and a few explosive calls this year officers are running from call to call, and doing it alone.

"Are we at where we need to be? No, do we need to make changes inside the department? Yes. We need to grow."

The president of Owasso's Fraternal Order of Police stressed that the city is below the national recommendation, which is two officers for every 1,000 people. Currently the city is at 1.49 officers per 1,000 residents or 49 officers for every 32,806 residents.

In the last 14 years, they have averaged adding only one officer each year despite the 60 percent growth in population.
In 2010, there were 49 officers for 28,915 citizens.

In 2000, there were 35 officers for 19,444 citizens.

There have been times officers had to respond situations had the potential to become violent and they're having to do so by themselves.

A city spokesperson said “we don't believe this is a story, we aren't participating.”

City Manager Warren Lehr did shed some light on the situation by saying, “yes, I believe we need more officers to maintain, as our population and visitors continue to grow. Public safety will continue to be one of our highest, if not the highest, priorities. This is an issue and we need to get to work on this. If we work together we can find a perfect solution.”

Owasso police get 22 percent of sales tax compared to Tulsa police who get 30 percent.

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