Pilot Program With TPS, TPD Aims To Create Better Relationships
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa’s city council is pushing for a new approach to foster better relationships between people and police.
Project Trust is the name of the pilot program aimed at helping students. It’s a partnership between Tulsa Public Schools and the Tulsa Police Department.
As the City and Country continue to work through police and racial issues, Tulsa is focusing on engaging the city's youth.
The partnership is meant to rebuild and strengthen Tulsa’s bond.
"There is a good relationship in the community with our police department, but there is a little bit more that we can do," said Tulsa City Councilor Karen Gilbert.
The district 5 councilor is one of those behind Project Trust, saying, as a mother and an employee of TPS, she noticed something missing from these conversations.
Gilbert said, "We had the community there, the adults, the parents, but there was one thing that was missing."
Project Trust will launch as a pilot program next week at McLain High School, to get students involved.
"What we’re going to be doing is working with a small group of students - 15 max,” Gilbert said.
McLain saw the benefits of community support; just last week a student was arrested after bringing a loaded gun to school, but the district said quick communication led to the discovery of the gun and hasty removal of the student from school grounds.
Gilbert said, “Just getting out there and building stronger relationships, and trust, especially with our youth."
The program will survey students about what they think and feel about police.
Blaine Young with Tulsa Public Schools said, "Learning from the students, understanding what their concerns are, and responding to those."
Then, use that insight to help police ensure students feel safe, valued and respected.
"This allows there to be deeper trust across the community," Young said.
Gilbert said there will be bi-weekly meetings geared to foster trust.
"And work with our youth, who is the future of our city," she said.
Once insight is gathered from the pilot program, the mayor's youth council and TPS youth council will meet to better refine it before launching the program district-wide.