Dear Editor,

Since the Dec. 4 meeting of the Ada City Council, I’ve done a lot of thinking about the city of Ada, police and fire issues. This is a long read but I hope you will read it and choose to make a difference!

This is about so much more than just a $400 Christmas bonus. This is about right and wrong.

The City of Ada has 32 police officers. Sixteen of those officers have less than five years of experience. Three of those were just hired and haven’t yet worked a day. Ada Police Department has turned into a training facility and a stepping stone for new officers. They are leaving Ada PD for other departments with better pay, more manpower and safe, up to date equipment. Many shifts work with only four officers covering the entire city limits of Ada. Does this make you feel safe? How do you think it makes the officer feel? Heading into calls without backup because there are simply not enough officers on duty is dangerous, to say the least. The City keeps building and growing but the emergency response personnel numbers remain the same.

The City of Ada has been in negotiations with members and/or representatives of the Ada Police Department and Ada Fire Department since July 1, discussing their current FY contact. The City is offering police officers a 2 percent increase in pay while reducing the amount of comp time they receive from 120 hours to 90 hours. Does this sound like a good deal to you? Not once in over 20 years has a bonus or stipend been given and not given to ALL employees of the City of Ada.

The City has claimed that there is close to a 6 million dollar budget that includes equipment for our police officers and firefighters, yet officers are driving cars that have close to 200,000 miles on them. Not only are the vehicles an issue, the safety equipment that these men and women need to protect them is OUTDATED and some officers are even wearing EXPIRED VESTS!! If these officers have no solid working vehicles, expired equipment and no bonuses or stipends, where does this budgeted money go?!

Ada Police Department got new vehicles in 2012. In May of that year, a vehicle pulled into the path of the Tahoe that an Ada PD Captain was driving. The vehicle struck a pole and subsequently rolled. That Tahoe had 300 miles on it. I’m curious where the insurance money went that should have gone to replace said wrecked Tahoe. There have been many instances where insurance claims have been filed and the proceeds from such claims have gone back into the general fund INSTEAD OF REPLACING OR REPAIRING the vehicle the claim was made on. Does this sound right to you? The Fire Department is in the same predicament with their vehicles and equipment. I’m just not understanding this …..especially when I’m seeing new Ford F-150 pickups being driven around by other City of Ada employees.

My son just recently graduated from CLEET and is a Reserve Officer for the City of Ada. I can’t even begin to tell you the amount of money he has spent thus far out of his own pocket for the things that he will NEED to do this job that he is VOLUNTEERING for. The Reserves have NO BUDGET (for FY16-17, the budget was $1500) for the things they need to be able to do this job that they are not getting paid to do. Have you priced bullet proof vests lately?! I would think the very least the City of Ada could do would be to supply these men and women with the vehicles, training and equipment that they so desperately need to stay safe.

I am asking, no, I am BEGGING….if you live in Ada and care about our city, contact our leaders and tell them that THIS ISN’T ACCEPTABLE and that something needs to be done before someone gets hurt or worse …

Respectfully,

Dawn Rhoads, Ada

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