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Tulsa Police Chief Franklin to retire

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin speaks to the media Monday, Dec. 12, 2022, at the Hyatt Hotel in downtown.
Max Bryan
Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin speaks to the media Monday, Dec. 12, 2022, at the Hyatt Hotel in downtown.

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin is retiring from the force.

Mayor G.T. Bynum confirmed Franklin’s retirement Wednesday afternoon. Franklin said in a statement he will work at Bank Of Oklahoma Financial as its director of corporate security.

Franklin was appointed chief in January 2020 after serving at the police department for 23 years.

During his four years, Franklin oversaw the police department through high-profile events such as a ransomware attack on the city’s IT systems; former president Donald Trump’s campaign rally in June 2020; the mass shooting at Saint Francis Hospital; and the severe storms over Father’s Day weekend in 2023.

He also oversaw the development of the city’s Real Time Information Center and secured money for new police facilities including a headquarters building and a helicopter base.

Franklin did, however, draw criticism for saying stricter gun laws would lower violent crime in the city, and when his officers heckled an elderly woman while she was having a serious mental health issue.

In a written statement, Franklin said the city has achieved most of the goals he outlined when he interviewed for his position.

“I’m so proud of the members of the Tulsa community, who welcomed me with open arms and rolled up their sleeves to work alongside me,” Franklin said.

Mayor Bynum said he is “profoundly grateful” for Franklin’s time as chief. The mayor said Franklin led the department through some of the city’s most challenging times, and that he leaves the department in a better place.

Max Bryan is a news anchor and reporter for KWGS. A Tulsa native, Bryan worked at newspapers throughout Arkansas and in Norman before coming home to "the most underrated city in America." Several of Bryan's news stories have either led to or been cited in changes both in the public and private sectors.