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Police chief hopes to get more training to officers

Elizabeth Caldwell
The Tulsa City Council meets on June 8, 2022

Updated 6/9 at 7:12 p.m.

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin is responding to a report from Virginia-based nonprofit CNA on TPD’s performance.

The report released last month gave 54 suggestions to improve community policing in Tulsa. Both the public and TPD officers are supportive of more training and transparency around training, according to the report. “Training is not only an opportunity for knowledge transmission; it is also an opportunity to examine beliefs, attitudes, and approaches toward policing and engagement with the community,” reads the report.

During a city council meeting Wednesday afternoon, Franklin said new cadets will go through the Greenwood Rising museum and he’s looking at partnering with the Tulsa Historical Society.

Franklin said staffing problems are putting TPD in a tough spot to offer consistent training. He’s hoping to gain more concrete information from a newly hired major on why 5 to 6 officers a month are quitting

“Unfortunately, we have not done exit interviews but that is something that I have asked the new major to make part of the process,” said Franklin. “It’s the same way with as we bring people on we’re starting to do interviews to say, ‘What brought you to Tulsa, what brought you to our department?’”

On the topic of creating an Office of the Independent Monitor to give oversight to the police, Franklin said he thinks it would create more conflict.

Councilors Vanessa Hall-Harper and Kara Joy McKee disagreed, saying information from an uninvolved third party could be good for both the police and the community.

Councilor Lori Decter-Wright said a new camera system being implemented by TPD goes hand in hand with something like an OIM. She said almost all of the cities the council studied with a camera system also have independent oversight.

Correction: This article originally stated that whether or not to create an OIM may go to the ballot for Tulsans to decide in August, but the city council voted last month against that step.

Before joining Public Radio Tulsa, Elizabeth Caldwell was a freelance reporter and a teacher. She holds a master's from Hollins University. Her audio work has appeared at KCRW, CBC's The World This Weekend, and The Missouri Review. She is a south Florida native.