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Tulsa Police Department partnered with CNA, a nationally accredited 21st century policing firm, to evaluate and make recommendations on the TPD’s formal and informal community policing efforts.
Over the summer, the Oklahoma Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued an advisory memorandum on police practices in the state of Oklahoma. The Committee issued the memorandum after a series of public hearings and with testimony provided by researchers, law enforcement officials, community advocates, and government officials.
Importantly, the memorandum showed that Oklahoma had the highest rate of police use of force incidents in the nation. More specifically, Tulsa ranked #7 in the nation for police shooting rates per 10,000 arrests. Columbus, Ohio ranks #1 with 14 police shootings for every 10,000 arrests.
The Human Rights Watch did an in-depth investigation of policing and racial inequality in Tulsa in 2018, and they found that Black residents are three times more likely to be arrested than White residents. The disparities persist with youth as well. Tulsa Police Department arrests Black youths at three times the rate of their White counterparts.
With these recent studies and findings over the past few years, the City of Tulsa and Tulsa Police Department looked to outside help in order to help identify and implement needed change.
CNA released a community survey to Tulsa community members over the summer to over their perceptions and outlooks of the Tulsa Police Department. A little less than 500 Tulsa community members completed the survey according to the results shared at a community meeting.
The results of the survey found that a majority of the White participants have a positive outlook on TPD with 72% of the respondents affirming the department, while only 48% of Black participants have a positive outlook on the department.
Community members were also given the opportunity to give recommendations for improving how TPD engages with community members. Answers ranged from: recognizing diversity and bias issues, more training, alternative models to policing, all the way down to improving use of force practices.
CNA is expected to give a final report to TPD sometime this fall that will consist of an evaluation, performance metrics, recommendations, and an action plan.
(Editor’s note: City leaders present at the meeting prevented reporters from interviewing or recording video of the meeting. They cited safety concerns for citizens to speak truthfully without fear of retribution. No officials or officers from Tulsa Police Department were present at the meeting.)