BROKEN ARROW, Okla. — Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Director Ricky Adams plans to add 17 agents to the agency’s roster by the end of the year as the agency rebuilds after a decade of budget cuts. 

Adams, who assumed the leadership position July 1, said the “state’s premier investigative agency” presently employs 75 field agents, two fewer agents than the state has counties. He said Wednesday that is an indication of “how far the budget has dwindled away” the agency’s human assets. 

“When you look at the organization as the budget has been cut over a 10-year period of time, the organization had to drop manpower to keep up with the budget,” Adams said during an event intended to showcase the agency’s resources and introduce them to media representatives. “We had shortages in information services and in criminalistics side, (but) when you looked at our investigative arm …, you saw the manpower go to the dump.”

Adams said personnel cuts were less severe in those departments because the services provided are required by other agencies across the state. Those services include such things as laboratory testing and other technology-driven services. 

Adams said 132 agents would be an optimal number for the OSBI, but having a roster of 92 agents by the end of the year would be “significant ... it’s a “game-changing piece for us.” With the state’s improved financial picture, Adams said the OSBI also should “be able to round out our crime scene units with some new technology.”

“The caseload never changed, the caseload stayed the same,” Adams said while describing how budget cuts whittled away the agency’s manpower. “So if you look at why cases go cold sometimes, it’s just because you can get run over by the immediacy of what happened today.”

Adams said the agency employs just more than 300 people. In addition to adding more agents to its investigation division, he said there will be additions in other divisions as well. 

“It’s important these organizations are properly manned and resourced,” Adams said. “We are adding folks at the lab and technology and capabilities to try and stay as close to the cutting edge of what we can do today to bring answers to families out there who have lost loved ones and have been hurt.”