TULSA, OK (KJRH) — The Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police spends months in a negotiation process with the mayor's office, so increasing pay for police officers goes far beyond a budget proposal.
The annual process is designed to be negotiated behind closed doors, and is similar to the Tulsa Fire Department contract negotiations.
Tulsa FOP spokesperson Shane Tuell says they’re done in private "so as not to be persuaded by the public.” He added increasing the initial pay for officers is a good step, but not nearly enough.
“It’s not about attracting attention to your police department and recruiting, it’s about retaining," Tuell said. “If you take off bottom steps or you increase the incentive for younger people to come here and join the police department, you’ve still done nothing to address how far the department is behind.”
On April 24, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum announced in his budget proposal he wanted to add $10,000 to Tulsa Police's starting salary, and $5,000 to Tulsa Fire's.
“We also have heard concern for years about Tulsa lagging our peer cities when it comes to pay for first responders,” Bynum said. "The days of hearing 'eighth in the state' when it comes to police pay are over. The budget before you would increase Tulsa Police starting pay to the same as Oklahoma City’s."
Tuell says TPD has lost recruits out of Tulsa's academy to surrounding agencies, because recruits see much higher salaries down the road. He says that should be the endgame for the department and the city.
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