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Pawhuska Police Department bridging divide between officers and community

Posted at 7:53 PM, Jul 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-23 23:21:18-04

PAWHUSKA, OK (KJRH) — Pawhuska police are working to gain the trust of neighbors in their community, and be more transparent with the people they protect. Neighbors in the small city had lingering questions from what they describe as years of uncertainty with their department.

Patrick Hailey is the pastor at Pawhuska Church of God, and has lived in the city for 20 years. He opened the doors of his church for dozens of people to file in, sit in the pews, and ask their officers questions about current and future practices.

“People have questions about what’s going on in the community. And even though it’s a small town that communication is just not there,” Hailey said. “[This] gives people the chance to not only meet the officers, but understand what’s going on.”

The Tuesday night meeting lasted three hours. Pawhuska Police Chief Nick Silva says it made progress in the right direction.

"Right now we’re trying to build relationships so we can have an understanding within the community," Chief Silva said. “We just want people to understand we’re here to help the community stay safe, and move along and progress all on the same page.”

During the meeting, Chief Silva talked about his goals for his department looking forward, including updating the city jail and securing grants for extra patrols. Officers took questions about ticketing, and what’s being done to eliminate crime in their neighborhoods.

Silva said the department is going to begin being more transparent with people during stops and ticketing, and has been walking through schools and public areas to find and address weak spots.

Silva also wanted to demonstrate how police train to keep people safe by conducting a taser demonstration. He said he did so to help the community understand what police are doing when they’re operating at a scene.

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