LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - Lawton Animal Welfare will soon be part of a new department following last week's city budget approval. Animal Welfare will be under the Lawton Police Department as Administrative Services will be absorbed into Community Services department. Consolidating divisions is common for the city, but they have done more this year than in years past.
Animal Welfare Officers work closely with Lawton Police Department, and will soon see a closer partnership in the coming year.
"To be honest, it was almost an inevitable that this was going to happen," LAW Superintendent Russell Anderson said.
Next year's City of Lawton budget includes changes in divisions, starting with the Administrative Services director retiring this year. It paved the way for that division to move under Community Services that could save the city $30,000.
Which had Lawton City Manager Jerry Ihler looking at moving Animal Welfare, now under Administrative Services, as well.
"If you research and take a look where most Animal Welfare divisions are actually in, they are under or part of their police departments in quite a few other communities," Ihler said.
Ihler said the switch wasn't to save money, but to put a division where it might thrive.
"There could be some savings in their coordination efforts and time," Ihler said.
Anderson said they will continue to do the same work out in the community and with the police department.
"For a long time now we've been doing a real good partnership out in the field," Anderson said. "What we've built with LPD has been great so it's a lot of interaction, and I don't see a difference there."
There were four other division consolidations that came with this budget, mostly combining smaller divisions under similar functioning budgets. Ihler said that saved the city $130,000.
Auditing is now part of the City Manager's Budget, Finance Administration is part of Financial Services' budget, Parks and Recreation Administration is part of Administration and Recreation Services' budget, and McMahon Auditorium is part of Arts & Humanities budget.