NORMAN, Okla. (KFOR) – Officials with the Norman Police Department say officers are turning in their badges at a higher rate than normal over this last month.
Back in June, the Norman City Council voted to defund the department.
With nine positions already cut and five people resigning, officials say replacing those badges is going to be tough without funding.
“It’s very concerning. Having enough officers and employees to make sure we can fulfill our missions and keep the community safe is always a concern for us,” said Capt. Brent Barbour, of the Norman Police Department.
Norman police say they usually have 10 resignations a year, but now five of those resignations have come unexpectedly in the last three weeks
“It really hurts us all,” said Robert Wasoski, Norman police officer and president of the FOP 122.
Wasoski says when the city council voted to cut funding last month by $865,000 and leave nine open positions unfilled, he was not surprised by the the surge in resignations.
“When you lose good folks, it doesn’t help the public safety of Norman. Response times go way up, cases getting closed go way down, it’s just not good for anybody,” said Wasoski.
Both Barbour and Wasoski say holding a police academy this year to train new officers is not in the cards thanks to COVID-19 concerns and the cut in funding.
“It’s upsetting, it’s disheartening to see what is going on down there,” said Moore Police Chief Todd Gibson.
Gibson is a former Norman officer. He say his department will have two to three spots to fill at the end of July.
Chief Gibson says he holds Norman officers in high regard and finding quality candidates is a bigger concern now than ever.
“It’s a nationwide problem, recruiting, retention quality people. We have great community support here in the City of Moore. We are looking for quality people and we are going to pick the best for our community,” said Gibson.
KFOR reached out to multiple Norman city officials for comment but our calls were not returned.
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