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Despite Reform Advocate Pleas, Oklahoma City Police Approved For $1.3 Million Increase

Oklahoma City Police Department headquarters in downtown Oklahoma City, Okla.
Ryan LaCroix
/
KOSU
Oklahoma City Police Department headquarters in downtown Oklahoma City, Okla.

The Oklahoma City Council approved more than $227 million for the city’s police budget on Tuesday. The total is a $1.3 million increase over the last fiscal year. The budget approval comes one year after some residents demanded funds be taken away from police and invested in community resources.

The funds will help pay for more than 30 police and police support positions, supplies and equipment that were frozen out of the previous budget after the city saw a pandemic-related dip in revenue.

Reform advocates criticized city council members for giving the police department more money right after several high profile police killings.

Jasmine Brown-Jutras said she felt council members would approve the budget no matter what she thought.

"Every meeting you have constituents come and speak to you and tell you what’s happening in their neighborhoods, tell you people are dying in their neighborhoods," Brown-Jutras said. "Your constituents in your wards are dying, and it’s like it’s going on deaf ears."

Brown-Jutras acknowledged the council did set aside $300,000 for an alternative program to respond to mental health crises. Another million dollars was promised to fund recommendations from groups considering potential reforms in policing, homelessness and human rights.

But she said it wasn’t enough, especially because details on how those funds will be spent are scarce.

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