NORMAN — In 2008, Norman voters were asked to raise their own sales taxes to pay for additional police officers and firefighters, two new fire stations and the equipment needed to operate them. Voters said yes and agreed to pay tax for seven years.
The fire department graduated a class of recruits this past week, and Norman police will graduate 13 new officers at 2 p.m. Friday at Bethel Baptist Church. Five of those officer positions were paid for by the public safety sales tax.
The lucky 13 — who started the academy on Halloween and graduate Friday the 13th — will begin the field training part of their program, riding with a seasoned officer for 14 weeks. After that, they’ll work solo out of the department’s Patrol Bureau.
The officers are the first academy under new chief Keith Humphrey. In community speeches and with his officers, the chief stresses “community policing,” an old concept that has received new life in the past few years.
The theory is the community’s assistance and support is the best way to chase criminals out of the area. Officers who get to know the neighborhoods and businesses are trusted, and information that is helpful in solving and preventing crimes is freely shared.