A council working group tasked with finding ways to improve trust and accountability for the Tulsa Police Department is still developing potential policies, but it has made one suggestion: business cards for every officer.
During a recent visit with Sand Springs Police, working group members learned every officer there carries business cards with their name and contact information on them to give to people they encounter.
Councilor Lori Decter Wright said that would be an easy way to humanize officers in situations that can be stressful for people who don’t trust them.
"I think it's worth the effort, and we see in a nearby community where it's really helped their whole program. This is one tool in the toolbox. But yeah, building community trust comes with, like, 'I gave you my information, you have my name, and now I need yours,'" Decter Wright said.
Decter Wright said Sand Springs has some other best practices in place, like publishing an annual policing plan developed with community input and having citizen oversight.
Councilor Connie Dodson said the personalized contact handing out business cards provides could also help people who see a problem in their community but are hesitant to call the police department.
"Because some of those complaints, people don't want to call. 'I think my neighbor's doing drugs,' or whatever. But it lets some of that process happen kind of in a behind-the-scenes way so that they can let somebody know that they're concerned about activities without actually putting them on the hook," Dodson said.
Council working groups are developing policy recommendations to address disparities in policing and the justice system identified in the annual Equality Indicators report.