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TPD Chief Says No Community Input Will Be Considered In Development Of New Use-Of-Force Policy

Matt Trotter

Presenting the results of a research study analyzing use-of-force by the Tulsa Police Department over several years to the Tulsa City Council, TPD Chief Wendell Franklin said that the public will have no say in the development of any new use-of-force policy.

"The question was if there was going to be community input allowed in our policy decision-making, and the answer to that is no," Franklin said, in response to a question from Councilor Lori Decter Wright.

"I think that we are paid a salary to be the professionals, and be the ones that know the ins and outs of policing and what's going on. Again, I've mentioned before, of ceding authority to us to allow us to do that, and we will use best practices and things of that nature to drive our decision-making."

The study, "A Multi-Method Investigation of Officer Decision-Making and Force Used or Avoided in Arrest Situations," was conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Cincinnati, and was funded by the International Association of Chief of Police. It compared the police departments in Tulsa and Cincinnati, Ohio.

The study's findings include that race does not play a role in how much force police use on suspects; that officers are actually less likely to use high-level force when suspects show the highest levels of resistance; and that Tulsa Police use canines at a far higher rate than officers in Cincinnati. 

The study found that TPD is out of line with about 87% of departments nationwide in not reporting all uses of "physical control tactics" like arm bars or carotid artery restraints. 

TPD 911 Center Director Matt Kirkland told the council that they will begin recording those uses of force, and to expect the use-of-force numbers to go up as a result, adding that it's important to note those numbers will not reflect the department using more force, rather that they are reporting more actions.

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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