Muskogee Officers To Implement More 'Community Policing'
MUSKOGEE, Oklahoma - Even though Muskogee citizens and police were united recently, after an officer was forced to shoot a man with a gun, citizens still said they would like to see more community policing.
Six Muskogee officers just attended community policing training with the Los Angeles Police Department and plan to start some of those programs.
After Officer Chansey McMillin shot a man threatening to kill a woman, local pastors and the police held a news conference to show they were united.
1/23/2015 Related Story: Muskogee Police Release Video, Still Images Of Officer Shooting, Killing Suspect
The department briefed the pastors and showed them the body camera footage before releasing it to the public; both sides agreed they worked well together, but also agreed even more community policing would be good.
Six officers who attended community policing training in LA said they came back with great ideas.
"It's back to community policing, like a beat cop that used to be on patrol years ago that everybody knew and they went to the same barber shop and coached the baseball or softball team, that's what we're trying to get back to,” said Muskogee Police Lieutenant Michael Johnson.
Muskogee is broken up into six patrol districts and from now on officers will hold at least two meetings a year with citizens in each district.
Citizens will also have a phone number for an officer assigned to their district so they can call if they have a problem.
The department also wants to create a board made up of citizens and officers that meet every month to discuss all kinds of police topics.
“The community has input and a voice into the policies and actions of the police department,” Johnson said.
2/23/2015 Related Story: After Shooting, Muskogee Police Working To Implement Pastors' Suggestions
They also want to create a cadet program to can reach kids when they are younger and show them police do care and can be trusted.
The Muskogee officers saw firsthand how community policing works when they visited Watts in LA, an area that used to be high crime and gang controlled.
"Over the course of the past three or four years, these officers have now got to buy in where you can go into those housing projects and parents come out and put their arms around the officers and talk to them and say what's going on, what are these other officers here with you. That never could've been done years ago," Johnson said.
Police said, while technology can be good for police work, it also creates barriers, so they want to get back to when officers were approachable and worked with citizens to solve small neighborhood issues before they turned big.