8 broad recommendations on the future of OKC community policing and law enforcement policy will be discussed.
Masks are recommended for in-person attendance. The event is planned to be outside, but an indoor space is available if inclement weather makes it necessary.
“This is among the last opportunities our residents will have to truly engage their thoughts and opinions on the future of law enforcement and community policing with the recommendations for Oklahoma City,” said Councilwoman Nice. “Please bring your lawn chairs and blankets to join us and be a part of this process.”
City attorneys and senior management will join Councilwoman Nice and task force members at the event.
The preliminary report is the product of more than a year of background work with dozens of community groups and hundreds of local leaders. Service professionals, lawmakers, activists, organizers, religious leaders, mental health experts, advocates for people experiencing homelessness and others participated in interviews, listening sessions, virtual meetings and more.
The task force and working group will provide their own feedback to 21 CP, which will also consider the latest public feedback before presenting a final report this fall.
Many recommendations will be implemented quickly, but some are likely to have operational, budgetary, labor and legal issues to navigate, which will take time.
Read more about the preliminary report here.
8 Broad Recommendations
21CP Solutions, a consultant, prepared a 33-page report with preliminary recommendations developed with the working group, task force and other stakeholders, including the Mayor’s Task Force on Homelessness and Code-4 Counseling.
The report has eight broad recommendations. Each one is accompanied by its own specific recommendations for implementing it in Oklahoma City.
1. Change the Police Department’s de-escalation procedures
- Highlight de-escalation as a core department value by elevating it to the policy level – not specific procedures or rules of what to do in a particular situation, but a guiding principle to be followed at all times.
- Revise the police use of force policy to include levels of reporting and review based on the severity of the use of force.
- Formalize and strengthen the police Use of Force Screening Committee.
- Provide a public-facing dashboard (and raw data) on use of force and other police actions.
- Interview officers involved in a shooting before the end of their shift, instead of the current 48-hour waiting period.
- Prohibit officers from viewing video evidence before providing an interview about a critical event like a shooting, balanced with an understanding that nobody’s recollection is likely to exactly match video evidence.
- Increase the budgeted number of officers with crisis intervention training.
- Consider preferences for people with mental health experience, certifications or degrees, or social work experience for Police Department positions.
- Create a Crisis Intervention Committee to focus on citywide mental health response.
2. Provide independent law enforcement accountability to the community
- Assess the membership design of the current police Citizens Advisory Board (CAB), including who is on the board, appointment transparency and term limits.
- Change the scope and authority of the CAB, improving its ability to influence police accountability.
- Engage in a comprehensive public education campaign to highlight the CAB’s work and authority.
- Add an electronic way to anonymously file a complaint about police.
3. Improve crisis response training for police
- Develop a specific and comprehensive training plan to ensure officers trained in crisis intervention have enough support in the short- and long-term.
4. Provide alternative response to mental health calls
- Issue a formal request for information to determine what community resources are available to begin an alternative response model locally.
- Include gathering and tracking mental health crises into the record management system already in development, making specialized responses more available especially to frequent callers.
- Conduct public education and community training on how best to call for emergency mental health needs, to help provide dispatchers and first responders the best information.
- Continued training for 911 call takers and dispatchers in crisis intervention, script protocols and more.
5. Focus on law enforcement youth outreach
- Create a Youth Advisory Board with direct, monthly access to the Police Chief.
- Consider holding special sessions of the Community Police Academy for Youth.
- Ensure that current youth outreach programs are prioritized, well-funded and part of a public information and education effort.
6. Create a neighborhood safety/violence interruption program
- Create an exploratory committee that vets community resources critical to interrupting patterns of violence.
- When the committee provides a program design, issue a formal request for information to identify a provider.
7. Improve police officer access to mental health services
- Continue to implement recommendations from Code-4 Counseling, a Police Department consultant exploring ways to improve officers’ mental health.
- Require peer support members to compile monthly statistics of the number of contacts, services needed, referrals given and follow-up service.
- Formalize a recommendation for a Hospital Response Team for injured officers.
- Develop a comprehensive Post Critical Event Guide.
- Expand the number of full-time licensed professional counselors available to police staff.
- Create a police fitness program.
- Provide bi-annual education and training on emerging issues, coping skills and officer wellness.
8. Expand law enforcement homelessness outreach
- Incorporate issues regarding homelessness into systemic training for crisis information so officers know about appropriate resources and departmental guidance on discretion for low-level offenses.
- Consider modifying ordinances regarding quality-of-life crimes to avoid criminalizing homelessness.
The full report is available here on okc.gov.
The task force and working group will spend the rest of the summer and early fall on feedback for the preliminary report.
21CP is scheduled to deliver a final report in the fall, which will mark the conclusion of the work for the task force and working group.
The final report will then be presented to the City Council, likely in late fall or winter, with further context from community voices. The City Council will consider the recommendations in the final report for possible adoption.
The preliminary report incorporates extensive public outreach and feedback collected for more than a year, including in an April virtual town hall meeting. A more comprehensive list of groups participating in the process is in the report. Further opportunities for feedback will come during comment periods at City Council meetings with the report on the agenda.
The City Manager and Police Department may be in position to implement some of the recommendations quickly. Others are likely to have operational, budgetary, labor and legal issues to navigate, which will take time.