Oklahoma City community comes together to form ‘Community Policing Working Group’

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Following several incidents across the country, Oklahoma City leaders say they are taking the first steps toward adapting better policies and techniques for the Oklahoma City Police Department.

On Monday, city leaders announced the formation of the Oklahoma City Community Policing Working Group.

The group will study how to expand and increase effective programs for alternative responses, youth outreach, and more.

The group was formed based on a resolution authored by Ward 2 Councilman James Cooper. The resolution recognized the progress the police department has made through the years regarding community policing. However, it challenged the working group, the city manager, and the police department to identify innovative tactics to enhance the program.

“We’ve assembled community leaders from diverse backgrounds who are committed to helping us improve our policing strategies,” said City Manager Craig Freeman. “We expect benefits across our community, especially for our most vulnerable residents, and also for police officers performing a difficult job.”

The members are:

  • Maj. Ron Bacy
  • Maj. Vashina Butler
  • Pastor James Dunbar
  • Grace Franklin
  • Police Chief Wade Gourley
  • Erika Lucas
  • Pastor Michael McDaniel
  • Garland Pruitt
  • Paula Sophia
  • Tim Tardibono
  • Municipal Court Administrator LaShawn Thompson
  • Assistant City Manager Kenton Tsoodle (group facilitator.)

The group will have six areas of focus:

  • Training for police officers in crisis response
  • Officer access to mental health services
  • Alternative responses to mental health calls
  • Youth outreach
  • Expansion of homeless outreach initiatives
  • Creation of a neighborhood safety/violence interruption program.

The group will meet regularly starting in August and plans to present formal recommendations in 2021.

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