Nothing has actually changed in policing, TPD’s policies and Tulsa’s city government from 2017 — when I first began closely examining Tulsa’s community policing efforts — till now. All of the efforts that the public sees were planned behind the scenes by activists and citizens who would not and will not be silent because their community is over-policed, scrutinized, and portrayed as being a “high crime” area on television shows like Live PD.
With Mayor Bynum holding interviews for the new Chief of Police, the public safety and service of Tulsa’s most vulnerable communities affected by regressive policing must be put at the forefront.
Citizens are crying out for better policing practices across the city. On Thursday, December 28, 2017, the Terence Crutcher Foundation hosted a community town hall meeting at the 36th Street North Event Center. The evening was filled with speakers advocating for change in policies and police-officer relations with north Tulsa residents. Dr. Tiffany Crutcher was poised, eloquent, and calm whenever she spoke at the town hall. She recounted how she and her family have been treated since her brother, Terence Crutcher was shot and killed by Betty Shelby, and the subsequent trial, and she spoke of community relations with TPD and the goals of the Terence Crutcher Foundation. At the end of the town hall meeting, the audience viewed a video from the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) addressing statements that District One’s city councilor, Vanessa Hall-Harper made against TPD and Betty Shelby. Hall-Harper claimed that the FOP participates in a culture of corruption, and she refused to back down whenever she was questioned about her comments. The FOP member in the video stated that he did not understand why Mrs. Hall-Harper holds those beliefs, and that is one of the biggest problems dividing the police and the FOP from the community.