TULSA, OK - The Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) has unanimously voted to give up officers' right to drive their patrol cars to their homes outside the city limits, according to Tulsa World.
According to the city administration, the change could save the city more than $1 million during the next fiscal year, FOP President Phil Evans said after a Dec. 21 meeting, Tulsa World reported.
The take-home car provision is in the FOP's contract with the city, but officers made the concession regarding those who live outside the Tulsa city limits in an effort to mitigate the number of layoffs that may be forced on the Police Department by the city's budget crisis.
The existing take-home vehicle policy specifies that officers may drive their cars to residences within a 25-mile radius of the geographic center of the city. That allows officers to drive them to suburban communities. A 2007 study showed that out of the 777 police vehicles, 392 were being driven outside Tulsa's city limits.
Earlier this fiscal year, some city councilors and then-Mayor Kathy Taylor called on the police union to give up some of the take-home vehicles to avoid further police budget cuts. The union, having already agreed to furlough days for officers, refused to make additional concessions at that time, Tulsa World reported.
City Councilor Rick Westcott said he hopes the funds saved will go a long way toward saving jobs in the Police Department, reported Tulsa World.
Earlier this month, an independent arbitrator ruled that the City of Tulsa must pay back a total of $92,000 to police officers who were charged a fee for using their patrol cars for off-duty jobs.