NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – Norman City Hall was packed Tuesday night for an 11-hour budget meeting.
“This is the people’s hall. They really deserve the opportunity to be able to speak one after the other for as long as necessary,” said Kate Bierman, councilmember for Ward 1.
Some people were demanding to defund the police department, while others were there to support the department.
Ultimately, the council voted to cut $865,000 from the current $31 million dollar police budget.
Council members say a large chunk of that cut has to come from salaries and benefits.
“To put $630,000 of that into yet to be determined community outreach and support programs, and then $235,000 to hire an internal auditor to do regular deep budget reviews and financial reviews of the city budget,” said councilmember Bierman.
Some protestors say it’s still not enough.
“We have police doing dog catching, we have police doing sniper rifles to make sure people aren’t being injured or catch criminals and this is outrageous,” said Norman resident Michael Graff.
Others stood in support of police, saying no funds should be cut.
“I just feel they are getting a bad rap, there was one bad apple that caused all this but they are the ones that are here to support us,” said Norman resident Tina Kinley.
Before the final vote Tuesday night, Norman Police Chief Kevin Foster told News 4 he was open to discussing the future of his department.
“We’re open to all input from everybody. Even when there’s a disagreement we’re open to sitting down at the table and discussing it, and the reasons why we do certain things, why we can’t change certain things, and then we can change certain things. We’re open,” said Foster.
We reached out to Norman PD Wednesday after the decision was made to get their stance.
They tell us they are “currently working through what the impacts of the cuts willl be to the department.”
Also saying they will “seek additional information from the City Council and City Staff on what the effects of the cuts will be.”
Council members say they don’t specifically know what part of community outreach that $865,000 will go towards just yet.
They tell us they will discuss this in further detail at their July 9 oversight committee meeting.