OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Police reform has been a hot button issue for the last five months, and state lawmakers started to tackle the issue on Wednesday.
Legislators held a study hearing on law enforcement policies, including the use of force and deescalation.
The leader of the State Senate says its time to have tough discussions on police reform.
“As I go around the state, people are talking about use of force,” said Senator Greg Treat.
The Senate Pro Temp led a study Wednesday on police policies.
State senators weighed in on the issue as lawmakers brought different viewpoints to the table
“We need to have tough discussions. We need to be comfortable having tough discussions. Nothing ever gets done unless you have those types of discussions,” said Treat.
Lawmakers brought in members of the National Conference of Legislators to take a look at what other states are doing
“34 states and Washington D.C. have introduced 594 new bills. Fifty of those new bills have been enacted,” said Amber Widgery of the NCSL.
“My bill had zero opposition from the law enforcement lobby,” said Leslie Herod
The state representative from Colorado authored her state’s new police reform bill. It puts limits on police use of force and mandates data collection to make sure cops who are fired from one agency don’t get rehired by another. It bans choke holds, requires body cams for all officers and holds police personally liable for civil rights violations.
“This is something that will transform policing and make all our communities better,” said Herod.
“Systemic racism. You hear words like institutional racism. There is merit to that,” said Todd Gibson.
The Moore police chief also weighed in, saying changes do need to be made. Gibson says no agencies are looking to hide rouge officers, but they do want to protect officers who are doing the right thing.
“In 2020, we are asking our sons and daughters to do a whole lot of things, and we are asking them to do this with a zero failure rate,” said Gibson.
Treat says there is no specific legislation tied to Wednesday’s study hearing; it’s more about getting the ball rolling.
“Lets have that conversation, lets rip the scabs away. Lets get law enforcement and minority communities together to see how to move forward,” said Treat.
Treat says he wants to hear from everyone on this issue. Call or email his office at the capitol to become part of the conversation.
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