Tiffany Crutcher decried “hypocrisy” Wednesday in a statement criticizing Police Chief Wendell Franklin’s recent refusal to seek public input on use-of-force policy reform.
Answering a councilor’s question regarding whether the Tulsa Police Department is seeking out and considering input from the community to be “fully transparent and collaborative” as it reworks its use-of-force policy, Franklin said no.
“I think that we are paid a salary to be the professionals and be the ones that know the ins and outs of policing and what’s going on,” he said then. “So again, I’ve mentioned before of ceding authority to us to allow us to do that, and we will use best practices and things of that nature to drive our decision-making on the Tulsa Police Department.”
In her statement, Crutcher said that “there is no effective policing absent community involvement.”
“This decision is not only in direct contrast to the hard work that the City Council and committed community members have been engaged in nonstop for over two years, it is rife with hypocrisy,” Crutcher wrote.
Franklin responded that departmental policy, such as the use-of-force reform Crutcher mentioned, will continue to be based on law and industry standards instead of “personal preferences.”
Tulsa police officers, however, are able to view a draft of the policy and offer comments on it to be reviewed by the chief’s office, Franklin told councilors last week.
Crutcher also questioned the city’s decision to contract with a Virginia-based firm to evaluate the Tulsa Police Department’s community policing efforts and to develop steps to advance and measure the department’s performance.
Expressing concerns that the city is spending money on “outside firms to supplant community voice,” Crutcher suggested that Mayor G.T. Bynum and Franklin bring community members to the table.
But the firm chosen to delve into TPD’s community policing efforts, CNA Corp., aims to involve the community in advisory and action groups, according to the city.
“There is obvious confusion on the author’s part,” Franklin said in response to Crutcher’s statement. “Our collaborative policing initiative involves the community, as we stated in our statement yesterday.”
Bynum previously said the city recognizes the need to involve residents and officers in the development of the community policing plan and that he was “excited” to begin the “collaborative process.”