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Tulsa mayor creating position to help policy, outreach

Posted at 11:33 AM, Jan 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-16 12:33:39-05

TULSA — City of Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum is creating a position that can help with policy, outreach, and oversight as the city continues to focus on community policing needs.

The Office of Independent Monitor will review best practices and provide recommendations on policy, Bynum stated in a press release. They will also facilitate citizen dialogue and help follow up on citizen complaints.

"As we develop our community policing program in Tulsa, we recognize the need for modernized oversight systems that provide accountability and transparency and build public trust between our residents and officers," Bynum said.

The statement went on to state that "TPD has fully implemented 97 percent of the 77 community policing recommendations on an ongoing basis."

There are hopes all this will be met once more officers are hired through the Vision Tulsa program, the press release stated.

"I think we have the best police officers in America," Bynum added. "I've seen the sacrifices they make, and the selfless way they do their jobs. But we have not given those officers the tools they need to build trust. For decades, we understaffed their department - forcing them to spend most of their time in their cars reacting to 9-1-1 calls, and we relied on outside groups to facilitate citizen dialogue. When a use of force incident occurs that causes community concern, the only public discussion happens if the District Attorney files criminal charges or someone files a lawsuit. Internal affairs investigations are conducted confidentially, and citizens have no means of verifying their results. We owe it to the citizens and our officers to do better than that."

The OIM in Tulsa came about after the concept was first heard about in Denver, who has used the OIM system for 15 years.

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