The Sand Springs Police Department is updating the way it serves the public, with a new plan that includes more training for officers, and more community policing programs.
A lot of the 24-page plan came from the community itself; Sand Springs Police Chief Mike Carter said that's why it works.
“Just bringing the public into our fold and saying, ‘We do work for you and we are listening,’” Carter said.
The people spoke and Sand Springs Police listened. Their newest policing plan is full of input and ideas from the community.
The plan includes more community policing, building on the department's Pop with a Cop program. It also calls for all officers to go through crisis intervention training and de-escalation training, making police use-of-force truly a last resort.
"If we can take that one heartbeat, if we can take that one minute with people, sometimes people will make wiser choices,” Carter said.
The chief said he's constantly tweaking the policing plan, seeing what works and what doesn't.
Last year, officers went through implicit bias training, they gave out more warnings instead of traffic tickets and allowed people to donate canned goods in lieu of paying fines.
What's good for the public, Carter said, is good for his officers, and vice-versa.
"A lot of this is couched in an us-versus-them mentality. There is no us versus them. We are the public servants. We are here to do their bidding," he said.
Carter said that's why the Sand Springs Police Department gets a lot of community support.
The policing plans aren't political - instead, they strive to be ethical.
"It's not a, you have to pick this side or the side. A lot of these issues come down to, you can do the right thing," Carter said.
The plan also calls for Sand Springs officers to get raises of nearly $10,000 - giving them the third-highest starting salary in the metro area.