By Friends of the Crutcher Family
The City Council must hold public hearings to investigate the Equality Indicators report’s findings of racial disparities in TPD’s arrest and use-of-force practices.
It is simply unacceptable to recognize inequities without offering any action to address them.
The TPD must revise their policies and training to emphasize de-escalation and alternatives to arrests.
TPD’s use-of-force policy says nothing about the use of de-escalation tactics to avoid unnecessary use-of-force. That must change immediately.
The TPD must mandate independent investigations of police use-of-force incidents that result in death or injury.
If Tulsa truly values improving community faith in its police department, then the TPD not investigate alleged misconduct of its own officers.
Tulsa should follow the lead of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, which has an agreement with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to handle investigations of potential officer misconduct.
The TPD must create use-of-force policies that clearly state what information will be released publicly.
After a tragic incident of police violence, there should be a standard protocol for what information gets released and when. This will help ensure the department remains transparent at times of great stress.
The TPD must establish a Serious Incident Review Board, comprising law enforcement and community members who will review officer-involved shootings and other serious incidents that have the potential to damage community trust.
“Never put yourself ahead of the movement. The focus shouldn’t be on you, but on the agenda, to ensure that the message doesn’t get lost.” — Orisabiyi Oyin Williams
This Board should be responsible for figuring out any administrative, supervisory, training, tactical, or policy issues that need to be addressed by the TPD.
As of now, the TPD’s Deadly Force Review Board is made up only of police officers. This must be changed to include a diverse array of Tulsa residents.
The TPD must partner with the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training to contribute to its National Decertification Index, which collects information about officers who have had their licenses or certifications revoked.
When an officer is fired from the TPD, it’s important that their names are submitted to the national database of decertified officers so that they do not end up getting hired by another police department. Allowing officers who have been found guilty of misconduct to bounce around from one law enforcement agency to another puts communities at risk and damages their faith in police.
Finally, the TPD must hire an anti-bias trainer with specific expertise in working with police to partner with the city’s current implicit bias trainer.
While we’re pleased that Tulsa finally decided to make implicit bias training mandatory for TPD officers and city executives, we’re very concerned that the firm chosen has no known experience training law enforcement.
Implicit bias training for law enforcement officers is not about “checking a box.” It’s about ensuring real change.
Given the history of law enforcement and communities of color in Tulsa, the team of implicit-bias trainers must include an individual with demonstrated experience in working eliminate bias in law enforcement agencies.
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Orisabiyi Oyin Williams is a mother of two and an Author. Ms. Williams is a transplant from Philadelphia, PA, she’s been a Tulsa since age 10. She is a Community Activist and believes in leaving her community in a better state than how she found it. Williams serves as Chair of the Tulsa’s Coalition for Social Justice, a member of The Tulsa African Study Group and serves as Vice Chair of the Greater Tulsa African American Affairs Commission. Orisabiyi has been involved in initiatives such as renaming Brady, preserving Black Wall Street/Greenwood and bringing social-awareness through education to the community. Ms. Williams is currently the Campaign Manager for City Councilor Vanessa Hall-Harper.