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Tulsa City Council Votes Against Office of Independent Monitoring Charter Changes

Posted at 9:33 PM, Mar 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-04 23:22:13-05

TULSA, Okla. — The city of Tulsa will have to wait longer for a possible vote on an office of independent monitoring.

The City Council voted five to three Wednesday night against sending charter amendments that would create the oversight office to the city attorney. If changes were approved, the council would then have to vote again to put it on a ballot.

The vote was about making sure changes to the charter would be legal. One of those changes was to allow the office of independent monitoring to investigate an incident at the same time as the police department. Another was to allow the oversight office to have subpoena powers to require people to testify.

Related Story: Tulsa City Councilor Working To Build Trust Between Community and Police

Councilors who voted against it said they heard from many people in their district who didn’t want it. Some also said they want to give the new Tulsa Police Chief, Wendell Franklin, a chance to do his job. Those in favor said it’s not against Chief Franklin, it’s just oversight.

“And, if anything, it will help the police to do their jobs," said Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper, Tulsa City Council, District One. "And say, ‘Look, we had civilian oversight. And civilian oversight said that we did this right.’ And so it’s good for everyone, but more importantly, it builds trust. It builds accountability. It builds transparency in the community. And we need that in law enforcement. Not only in the city of Tulsa, but throughout this country.”

Now, councilors in favor of the oversight office will have to create a petition and get signatures to get it on a ballot. Hall-Harper said they have to get the petition started before they’ll know how many signatures they need or when it could potentially be on a ballot, but they hope to get it done as soon as possible.

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