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Police officers blame understaffing for slow roll out of new vehicles

Police officers blame understaffing for slow roll out of new vehicles

TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) -- If you've driven by some of the Tulsa Police Departments you may notice brand new police cars, some still with paper tags dating back to February and March.

"We usually buy somewhere between 80 and 85," Deputy Chief Dennis Larsen said.

But Larsen says there was a glitch while ordering parts because of a new technology system.

"IT worked with the people who sold us the program, worked diligently to try to correct the problem but it took 60 to 60 days," Larsen said.

I looked at the fleet from 2017, dozens of officers are driving cars too old to be on the road according to their standards, while new cars sit to be outfitted.

Larsen says the slow start to getting the new cars on the road and the old off the road was a one time deal.

"Now, I think everything should flow as smoothly as ever if not better," Larsen said.

But officers I spoke to off camera tell me the issue is lack of man power in the IT department.

"I don't know about IT," Larsen said.

But former Tulsa mayor Dewey Bartlett does.

"When our administration was responsible, it was very undermanned," Bartlett said. "They were given a lot of responsibility with a very minimal number of people."

Bartlett says budget purposes forced him to make changes within city departments, including removing some personal IT departments.

"We ended up doing a lot more efficient use of our department," Bartlett said.

The plan is to get the new cars on the road by October.

Chief Larsen says his crew is working hard and long hours to produce the cars in a timely fashion.

He says they are meeting the deadline given to them.


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