Tulsa Creating a National Model for Community Policing

From Tulsa’s Mayor by G. T. Bynum
Mayor of Tulsa

Public safety is one of the most vital roles of any municipal government and is one that ensures quality of life for our citizens.

With the overwhelming passage of Vision Tulsa, permanent public safety dollars will be directed to hire 160 additional police officers in our community with a continued focus on building connections across the city between our officers and citizens.

Shortly after taking office, I created the Tulsa Commission on Community Policing so we could have a communitywide conversation on how Tulsa can be the national model when it comes to community policing. I also wanted to have a communitywide consensus on the goals surrounding community policing before new officers come onboard.

The commission primarily focused on the recommendations set forth by the President’s Task Force Recommendations on 21st Century Policing, which is aimed at building trust, reducing implicit bias and helping law enforcement agencies reduce crime while maintaining civic involvement.

I’m proud to say that 77 recommendations were submitted by the commission, which gives us a clear roadmap for what community policing will look like in Tulsa. With months of research and candid discussion, we now have a measurable framework by which citizens and police can work together for improved public safety.

We looked at areas of building trust and legitimacy, community policing and crime reduction, officer wellness and safety, policy and oversight, technology and social media, and training and education. Some recommendations in the report were already underway, but new recommendations included: expansion of crisis intervention training; implicit bias training for all officers, city employees and elected officials; and new youth programs focusing on leadership and life skills, to name a few.

Sitting on the Commission was a great experience and I personally learned a tremendous amount about what our police department is already doing and where we can go from here. We have great working relationships between the police officers and citizens, but we need to go further to engage and inform the community. With the leadership of Police Chief Chuck Jordan we will form a community advisory board and community action groups during the next few months to help gauge feedback from the community to find out citizens’ concerns. I know this will make Tulsa a safer city in the long run.

I urge you to read the complete report of the Tulsa Community Policing Commission findings and recommendations and review the progress report dashboard that will track the development and status of the recommendations: cityoftulsa.org/police

Updated 04-24-2017

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