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Norman City Council Again Votes To Divert Some Funding From Police Department

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The Norman City Council voted for a second time Tuesday to divert nearly one million dollars from its police department into accounts that could be used for social services. The vote was held to make up for a previous budget invalidated by the Oklahoma Supreme Court.

The Norman Fraternal Order of Police sued the city last year over its previous vote to move the same amount: $865,000.

The police union argued city council members violated the state’s Open Meetings Act by adding budget amendments to its agenda without giving proper notice. Three of those amendments targeted police funding.

The Oklahoma Supreme Court agreed.

Multiple Norman residents commented on the city council’s decision to reconsider approving the budget changes.

People who supported diverting the funds said they could be better used to serve the city's homeless, mentally ill and other vulnerable populations.

Opponents said taking money away from police would hurt their ability to respond to calls.

The city reported last year the funding change would force police to eliminate nine unfilled positions, but the department would still receive an overall budget increase.

The council overwhelmingly approved the controversial amendments with only council members Elizabeth Foreman and Matthew Peacock voting ‘no’ on each change. Mayor Breea Clark voted ‘no’ to one of the amendments.

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Quinton Chandler worked at StateImpact Oklahoma from January 2018 to August 2021, focusing on criminal justice reporting.
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