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Bynum Repeats Commitment to 'LivePD,' Leans Toward Internal Police Chief Candidate in TV Interview

City of Tulsa

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum has offered a response of sorts to demands for a community-driven, national search for the city’s next police chief.

North Tulsa elected officials delivered Bynum a letter signed by more than 100 residents on Friday calling for a nationwide search and for a selection committee to assist with it. The letter asked for a response by the end of the day Tuesday.

Appearing Tuesday morning on KOTV’s "Six in the Morning," Bynum said the current pool of seven internal candidates has an edge because they know what’s been happening in the department and in the city’s history.

"Just to be candid, I don’t want somebody who started learning about the Tulsa Race Massacre in February of 2020. I want somebody who’s been involved in the discussions that have been very important over the last three years," Bynum said.

Bynum said none of the internal candidates will continue the status quo and he will announce plans for further community involvement in the police chief hiring process after a round of interviews wraps up this week. Last week, Bynum held three town halls along with the nonprofit Crime Prevention Network to gather public input.

Current Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan retires Feb. 1.

The letter delivered to Bynum also demanded he end Tulsa's participation in the cable TV reality show "LivePD," saying it reduces black, brown and poor communities to spectacles for entertainment.

"I don’t view 'LivePD' from an entertainment standpoint. If it were about entertainment, I wouldn’t be supportive of it. I view it as a way for Tulsans to see what our officers are doing out in the field every day and judge for themselves," Bynum said.

Bynum added people saying the show preys on those groups had the same complaints about the police before the show came to town.

"There are folks who have accused our officers of terrorism, saying that they prey on the poor. I reject both of those completely. We have a great police department, and I want people to see what they do out in the field," Bynum said.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.