Community Policing Key To Turn Around Tulsa's Homicide Rate, Officials Say
TULSA, Oklahoma - Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said community policing is the way to turn around the city's growing homicide rate.
Bynum and Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan updated the public about the progress Friday toward having the department focus on a more community-aimed approached.
Jordan said it could take three years to fully implement community policing in Tulsa, but the department and city are committed.
"The beat officer being able to talk to people on the street and having the time to talk with store owners and residents, be in the neighborhoods more. We get a tremendous amount of intelligence and information about what's happening," Jordan said.
The key, according to the department, is having officers available.
The department is hiring 90 officers this year and building up the force by 160 over time.
Bynum and Jordan spoke at a forum on mental health and emphasized how community policing can help de-escalate situations involving people with mental illnesses.
Officers working downtown use some of the techniques and it's showing promise around 61st and Peoria.
"The community feedback has been awesome and the crime rate in the area we're working is down. Our goal was 25 percent and we're at 22 percent in six months, and even though we wanted to reach that goal in two years, it's down 22 percent in six months," said Tulsa Police Officer Popsey Floyd.
Bynum said body cams, more officers and better training are just part of the changes that will transform policing in Tulsa, and he's convinced it all will help stop crimes.
"No one is more frustrated with crime in Tulsa right now than me, but I hope that people see the things that are going to fix that are in the works. They're funded," Bynum said.
And the bulk of the cost for community policing is the extra officers, and that money is coming from the vision public safety sales tax.