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New TPD Records System Will Change Reporting, Add to Data Collection Capabilities

Tulsa Police

The Tulsa Police Department is on track to phase out its more than 40-year-old records management system late next summer.

TPD said it will allow them to collect more data to help recognize crime trends and could integrate with dozens of other area agencies’ systems to help with information sharing, but the upgrade will pose some challenges.

The new system will follow an updated federal reporting methodology. Tulsa 911 Center Director Matt Kirkland said the current one reports the most serious crime from a single incident, no matter how many occurred. The new one will report every crime that happened.

"When you start counting everything instead of the most serious one, crime’s going to appear to go up, right?" Kirkland told city councilors on Wednesday.

With the methodology changing, data reported under one can’t be compared to the other.

"And so, we are going to have a gap of capability to fully understand the direction that crime is going in Tulsa for a little bit. That’s just some fuzziness that we need to be prepared for," Kirkland said.

Kirkland said it will be at least two years under the new methodology before year-over-year data is useful.

The new records system will also enable TPD to collect and share many more data points. The department has no set criteria for changing its data collection processes, and a document provided to city council said data is collected or not based on whether it is required by law or may be useful.

In light of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in McGirt v Oklahoma, one new data point TPD will collect going forward, for example, is whether anyone involved in a case is a member of a Native American tribe.

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.
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