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TPD Chief Tells State Lawmakers He's Working on Better Use-of-Force Reviews

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Tulsa’s top cop told state lawmakers on Thursday the department is working to improve its reviews of officers’ uses of force.

Chief Wendell Franklin said during an all-day interim study on race relations that TPD is training officers to serve on a use of force committee and discussing a separate method to review police shootings with Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado and the state attorney general’s office.

Franklin said there may be a way for citizens to be involved with those boards, but it’s unlikely they will play active roles.

"I want to make sure things are done right. It’s like our medical doctors don’t have … citizens sitting on boards that are not educated in the aspect of whatever part of medical procedures that they’re involved in. They don’t get to sit at the table and be involved in that," Franklin said.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum has been unsuccessful with efforts to set up an Office of the Independent Monitor to review police internal investigations, partly because of police concerns about an untrained civilian doing that job.

Franklin said he is open to citizens observing the new boards' processes, with some precautions.

"We’d have to do nondisclosures because some of our uses of force end in litigation, and there are people out there that want to be involved internally in the process for no other reason than to gain some type of financial benefit," Franklin said.

Franklin also told lawmakers TPD will soon begin collecting data on lesser uses of force and has reformed its policy on using K-9 units. Both changes were recommended by a University of Cincinnati study.

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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