Published: MAY 9, 2017
By: KFOR-TV & K. QUERRY
OKLAHOMA CITY – A second grievance has been filed against the Oklahoma City Police Department regarding manpower concerns.
In April, the Fraternal Order of Police filed a grievance after obtaining records that “revealed that patrol shifts in the Operations Bureau of the Department have functioned below minimum staffing on over thirty occasions from March 2nd through April 2, 2017.”
“The failure to maintain minimum staffing has occurred on almost every shift, if not all, at every Division. Failure to maintain minimum staffing for officers on patrol is not only an unsafe condition for the officers and citizens but it also violates the Departmental directive designed to avoid that problem,” the a letter from the FOP to Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty read.
At the time of the original grievance, Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty said manpower is an issue, but there are no viable solutions as city funding continues to drop.
Citty says that a recent study shows that the police department reached the minimum staffing levels 92 percent of the time over the past month.
“Minimum staffing is an ongoing issue with the FOP,” Citty said. “We’ve discussed it for years.”
However, he said that the department “can’t always meet minimum staffing” levels because of personnel issues, sick leave and vacations.
“The one thing the FOP and this office is in agreement with is that we need to add more officers,” Citty said.
Citty says budget restrictions have caused 48 positions to be frozen.
“There’s going to have to be a way to fund operations of the city, not just police, not just fire, but public works and everything. The city cannot continue to function the way it does just based on sales tax,” Citty said.
Now, it seems a second grievance has been filed against the police department.
In a letter to the Oklahoma City Police Department, the FOP alleges that after the first grievance, “the Department unilaterally issued new minimum staffing guidelines changing the previous standards. The changes violate the established past practices and prevailing rights regarding minimum staffing incorporated in the CBA.”
The police department formally responded to the grievance, saying that there “has never been a bargaining agreement concerning specific minimum staffing levels.”
“The Police Department will continue to reserve the right to manage personnel staffing levels to best meet public safety needs and the safety of police officers in accordance with authorized staffing levels and the Police Department’s budget,” a letter to the FOP read.