Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan addressed the city on Friday in the wake of the Dallas sniper attacks as a peaceful protest was winding down.
Jordan said it was important for him to speak directly to the community since the shooting deaths of five Dallas police officers and wounding of six others and a civilian.
Chaos broke out as a peaceful protest was winding down in Dallas on Thursday night. People gathered to protest the recent officer-involved shootings of two black men elsewhere in the country -- one during a traffic stop in Minnesota, and another Louisiana in the parking lot of a convenience store as he was selling CDs.
Jordan said the protesters were airing legitimate grievances until a group of "psychotic thugs" and snipers opened fire on officers.
Jordan acknowledged Tulsa’s dark history in race relations, specifically the 1921 race riots, but he promised things are much different now as far as law enforcement response.
"The police department didn't do its job in 1921 and that won’t happen today," Jordan said.
He said TPD will continue to protect and serve, and citizens don’t need to fear some kind of retaliation or defensiveness coming from his officers because something happened to officers in Dallas.
He said the line-of-duty killings have most in uniform nervous, including himself. But this is Tulsa, he said, and their job is to protect all Tulsans.
“We can’t control the rhetoric in other cities,” he said. “All we can control is how we interact with the people of Tulsa, Oklahoma…. Tulsa is not every place else."
He also reassured Tulsa citizens who are fearful they could be profiled by police because of their race.
TPD officers arrest people of all races and ethnicities, he said, and he used the Good Friday shootings as an example of how TPD is committed to protecting victims of all colors and backgrounds.
“We’re everybody’s police force,” he said.
Jordan said he has no problem with people who have grievances and want to protest and sending officers to work them -- as long as the protest is a peaceful one.
"I grew up in the 60s; I'm not afraid of protests,” he said.