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Tulsans want new police chief to address race relations, de-escalation, mental illness

Posted at 10:49 PM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-08 00:40:03-05

TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa history was made in the city’s first community meeting to include citizens in the hiring process for the next police chief Tuesday night.

RELATED STORY: First town hall meeting for Tulsa's next police chief

Residents filled the room at the Hardesty Library. Many had suggestions for the mayor. A lot of the concerns dealt with Tulsa’s police officers’ capability of race relations, de-escalation training, and handling those with mental illness.

One woman said, "To have to explain, to someone who doesn't really understand, how to interact with police officers is very difficult and heartbreaking. The fact that I even have to have that fear is shameful."

Tulsa Mayor G. T. Bynum said achieving community policing means choosing the right chief.

"The person who is selected for this job, there will probably be nobody at the city of Tulsa who has more daily responsibility to make that a reality than the next chief of police. It's important to me, as we go through this, to hear from as many folks as I can on what you want to see."

Two qualifications the mayor expects in the next chief is someone who can manage the more $100,000,000 budget the department gets annually and understands community policing.

Seven candidates are being considered: three deputy chiefs and four majors. The mayor is reviewing them. If they are not chosen, then an outside search would begin. The mayor mentioned, he would be surprised if the process came to an outside search. He will interview each candidate one-on-one, before a decision is made.

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