On Tuesday Lubbock City Councilwoman Linda DeLeon voted against a tax decrease on the grounds that the city needs more money to hire police officers and code enforcement. Wednesday she was taking credit for a green light given to the LPD to hire as many officers as they can.
"You're saying that your push for more officers is what caused the green light to be given?" asked NewsChannel 11. "I think so," she affirmed. Wrong, says Councilman Gary Boren. "We've had that green light for two years. Ever since we hired Claude Jones as police chief two years ago. He's had a green light to immediately, immediately, hire and bring about all efforts to recruit police," he said.
A sentiment shared by the mayor. "We've told the chief all along that the more officers you can hire, go get 'em hired," said Marc McDougal.
"So it's not due to her political activism that suddenly the rest of the council caved and said, 'Ok, let's give the chief what he needs?" we asked. "Absolutely not, that's been going on for two years," answered Boren.
But DeLeon disagrees. "That green light wasn't given before. I think the direction is we brought the issue up to the forefront and now they're saying whatever it takes we'll find the money," she said.
Two years ago the force was at 278 officers. Today it's at 308. A climb say councilmen, consistent with the policy of 'Find 'em and hire 'em.'
"We have we have increased our budgets for police and fire every year for the last three years. I do not see that stopping with this year's budget," said Mayor McDougal.