Tulsa City Councilor Rick Westcott wants the police union to give up its “take-home” car benefit and use the money to recoup more than half of the $2 million in department cuts announced Tuesday.
Among that $2 million in cuts included laying off 21 police officers, grounding the department’s two helicopters and eliminating the mounted patrol. Those three categories amounted to $1.007 million.
However, “Chief Palmer informed the City Council that $1.1 million would be saved it those officers who live outside the city of Tulsa forgo their take-home car benefit,” Westcott said.
“Simply by the savings which would be realized from eliminating the take-home car benefit for those officers who live outside the city, we would save all police jobs, keep the helicopter patrol and keep the mounted patrol,” Westcott said.
The city hopes to reallocate money from a proposed federal COPS grant to rehire 18 of those officers. However, there is no guarantee permission will be granted. In addition, the City Council would have to approve that reallocation.
Westcott pointed out that by giving up the take-home benefit, the COPS grant “could still be used to fund the eighteen additional police officers and increase our manpower, as it was originally intended.”
Representatives of the Police union did not respond to phone messages.