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Midwest City PD wants to hear “good, bad and ugly” from community

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MIDWEST CITY, Okla — It’s no secret relationships between police and communities across the country are strained right now.

Midwest City is no exception. But the chief here has a strategy to make things better for the department and the citizens they serve and protect.

Chief Brandon Clabes likens community relationships to marriage. He said, “It’s dysfunctional at times. We make mistakes. Obviously we do.”

Recent violence has fractured the rapport in many communities across the country. A resident of Midwest City said, “Stop being so judgmental. Just assuming because you’re with a black person, you’re up to something. It’s a big race thing in Oklahoma.”

In an effort to improve negative police perception, Clabes is on a crusade.

He’s been canvassing his community, meeting with citizens. 37 years in law enforcement, Clabes said the disconnect has never been greater. “We need to get out of the car, out of the office and talk to the people we serve and find don’t what exactly you want and expect from the police department. Hopefully they’ll tell us and be honest with us. Sometimes its a painful process.”

Midwest city has also hired a firm to study the police department, and see where improvements need to be made. Clabes said that includes community input. “We really need to know what the public expects from law enforcement. Come in, be honest. If it’s brutal we will accept that and if we can improve we want to do that also.”

The city will hold a no holds barred forum next week, where folks can offer constructive criticism. Citizen Caryneeta Banks said, “I think people will see them differently like in a positive way.”

The meeting is 6p.m. Tuesday night in city council chambers.

The auditorium seats 180, and it’s expected to fill up quickly.