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Tulsa City Councilor Working To Build Trust Between Community and Police

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Posted at 5:05 PM, Feb 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 13:20:43-05

TULSA, Okla. — District One Tulsa City Councilor Vanessa Hall Harper wants Tulsans to be able to vote on an independent monitoring office.

She says by creating a separate office to investigate police incidents like the 2016 police shooting of Terence Crutcher, more people in the community would have a voice.

"This is not an 'I gotcha thing'. We want for everyone in the City of Tulsa whether you're black, white, blue, or green to feel safe," Tiffany Crutcher said.

Tiffany Crutcher is Terence Crutchers twin sister.

She said 30 days after celebrating their 40th birthday, Terence was killed, changing their lives forever.

"It totally altered and changed my families life," Tiffany said.

Tulsa Police Officer Betty Jo Shelby shot and killed Terence Crutcher on Sept. 16, 2016. Shelby was later acquitted.

"I made a vow to the world that I would not rest until I transformed and reformed the Tulsa's Police Department," Tiffany said.

The Crutcher Foundation is working with city leaders to create the Office of the Independent Monitor.

"What we want now is we want concrete change," Tiffany said. "We want to monitor. That is not to put a microscope on the police, but it's actually to collaborate with police officers."

City Councilor Vanessa Hall Harper says she's heard the community's concerns and is advocating for the independent monitoring office.

"Police need oversight, right?" Hall-Harper said. "No one is above the law. We defiantly have a trust problem in the city of Tulsa as a lot of communities have. It is a best practice."

Hall-Harper believes if created as a separate entity, the Office of the Independent Monitor would work separately from the police department.

She says that would create a better relationship between the police and the people of Tulsa.

"We move forward as a collective community," Hall-Harper said. "I think when we do that, that process in and of itself will go a long way in building trust. That's ultimately what we want to do."

The Crutcher family is grateful for the city's effort to address the issue.

"I am just so thankful that their is a community of activism and organizing all over the city who care enough to finally speak out," Tiffany said. "To and say you know what, we want better. We deserve better."

To be placed on the ballot, the proposal would need the support of at least five of Tulsa's nine city councilors and the signature of the mayor.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, March 3.

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