Oklahoma City FOP launches ‘Protect OKC’ campaign to gain support for new officers

OKLAHOMA CITY – There is a push to bring more police officers to the streets of Oklahoma City.

On Monday, the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police launched a public education campaign called ‘Protect OKC’ in hopes of gaining support for the cause.

According to the campaign, the population of Oklahoma City has increased by 200,000 in the past 20 years but the number of police officers hasn’t really changed at all.

The campaign says the average response time takes more than eight minutes, and the city’s murder rate has increased by 20 percent since 2011. During that same time, forcible rapes have increased by 60 percent.

The FOP and the chief of the police department agree that a one-quarter sales tax being proposed by the city council is a step in the right direction.

“Officers needs to be a huge priority. We need to get ’em out there so we can keep the response times down. We can saturate the high crime areas. That keeps crimes down. This is a very, very important step forward in getting the funding for hiring more officers,” said John George, with the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police.

“There’s a lot of considerations there, but I don’t think it’s one of those things where you do not, you don’t have a council or management within the city that doesn’t realize that we need more police officers. They do realize that and it’s how we’re going to fund that, and this is a start,” said Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty.

A proposed bond package and sales tax proposal would bring in more than $950 million over 10 years for infrastructure improvements and police and fire operations.

On June 20, the city council will have a final hearing on the proposal.