Community, Police Work Together Toward Safer Tulsa
TULSA, Oklahoma - Two new groups are working to make Tulsa a safer city.
Mayor G.T. Bynum and Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan appointed community members Wednesday who will help law enforcement crack down on crime and build community-police relations.
It's no secret the crime rate in Tulsa is alarming.
It's also no secret not everyone trusts law enforcement.
These new groups are a small but important piece of a bigger community policing strategy.
"There is a severe distrust between the African American community and police," said Jamaal Dyer, Citizen Advisory Board member.
Dyer is on the newly appointed Citizen Advisory Board "to let the police know why the community feels the way that it feels and to bridge that gap," Dyer said.
Bynum hand-picked people like Dyer who are heavily involved in the community to help gauge public sentiment toward police and the city.
"It's part of a much larger overall comprehensive approach we're taking that I think is probably the most comprehensive community policing initiative of any city in the country," Bynum said.
The board will work on policy decisions for TPD. Citizen Action Groups will work with officers on a street level.
"We can't solve everything by ourselves. We have to have the help of the community to solve things," said TPD Officer Jonathan Brooks.
The Citizen Action Groups are broken into three divisions. The focus will be on areas with higher crime rates, like at 21st and Garnett.
"They're our eyes ears on the streets, so to speak, giving us the information we may or may not know," Brooks said.
The action groups will not only help find the crime, but also fix the problem.
"Tulsa will be a far safer city in just a couple of years than it is today," Bynum said.
Bynum said the strategy also includes holding town hall meetings and improving TPD's use of social media.
"Now it's time to change the dialogue and conversation into policy and change," Dyer said.
Tulsa police are also tripling the amount of officers who will go through the academy to a record 90 next year.
The increase will allow officers to spend more time with the action groups and advisory board.ashl