TULSA, Okla. — As some leaders call for police reform, the heads of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and the Tulsa Police Department talk about what comes next in the aftermath of the Derek Chauvin verdict.
Each year, TCSO undergoes training to address mental health, cultural diversity, and de-escalation.
Now, Sheriff Vic Regalado is committed to having serious discussions with community members. His goal is to make the area safer.
Whether or not he can accomplish that goal is what worries him because of recent retention and recruitment obstacles. Tulsa’s law enforcement presence is dwindling.
“People are not staying in these jobs anymore because of the atmosphere in which we are operating under,” Regalado said.
In the past two weeks, he lost six deputies. Residents within city limits will soon see fewer officers, too.
“We are seeing this stigma associated with law enforcement that directly impacts the number of officers we have,” Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin said.
Franklin also said residents could expect longer waits for police service and that his department began discussing what crimes they will prioritize for investigations.
“Our department is seeing the, it’s suffering now. It’s suffering from the stigma associated with law enforcement,” he said.
The “stigma” exploded last year after George Floyd’s death.
“Because of what’s transpired across the nation, particularly in Minneapolis, any manipulation of the neck that was not necessary for a deadly force situation, we moved that out of our policy,” Franklin said.
Meanwhile, Regalado is seeing an increase in minority recruitment.
“As of June of last year, we’ve had almost a 17% increase in African American employees,” he said. “We’ve had just under a 200% increase in Hispanic employees. Others, Pacific Islanders, Asians, a 4.7 increase.”
Regalado’s next step is a sit-down.
“We really need to sit down and have serious, productive conversations,” he said.
Regalado wants to have those conversations with community members. Any residents or organizations wishing to have a discussion with TCSO on law enforcement improvement can call the office at 918-596-5601.
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