Tulsa's police union has sent Mayor G.T. Bynum a letter saying they believe his proposal for a new city office offering civilian oversight of police internal investigations is subject to contractual negotiations.
Bynum has proposed establishing the Office of the Independent Monitor, a department that would provide a check on police internal investigations — including for use of force — and evaluate progress on community policing initiatives. Bynum announced the OIM at a morning budget planning session on Jan. 16, and the Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police released a statement that afternoon saying they had not been approached.
FOP Chairman Jerad Lindsey said sending the letter is a routine matter, but there will be additional actions if police are not brought into talks about the OIM.
"We will file a greivance. There is a process for that, and we do feel very strongly that we deserve a seat at the table and that this is something that should be at least bargained. And we believe that the mayor will do that," Lindsey said.
Bynum said the OIM is intended to improve trust in the Tulsa Police Department, especially among black communities. Modeled after an agency of the same name in Denver, Tulsa's OIM would publish regular reports of its findings as well as reports after high-profile incidents.
Bynum intends for it to have funding beginning July 1 and has asked for $500,000 in the city's fiscal year 2020 budget.
A civilian board that will choose the director of the OIM must be set up before that.