Mayor Bynum establishes new office to monitor TPD

The Office of the Independent Monitor intends to suggest certain disciplinary actions.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum announced Jan. 16 that the Office of the Independent Monitor (OIM) that is planned for the upcoming fiscal year will be a moderating presence for the the Tulsa Police Department. While the OIM cannot put in action any disciplinary consequences for the TPD, they can recommend consequential actions. According to Mayor Bynum, the OIM will work primarily in policy, outreach and oversight. The OIM will also specifically “follow up on citizen complaints [and] review use-of-force incidents,” according to Mayor Bynum.

Establishing the OIM is part of a larger initiative to build trust between Tulsa citizens and the TPD. Over the last year, the TPD has been working to implement a list of 77 community policing recommendations. As of Jan. 16, 97 percent of these 77 recommendations have been put into practice. Alongside the OIM, equipping all TPD officers with body cameras and extended training for officers have been either planned or implemented. The system and logistics of the OIM was inspired by the police monitoring system in Denver, Colorado, which has been in place for the last 15 years.

The OIM will also partner with City Hall to create a Citizen Oversight Board constituted of citizens appointed by Mayor Bynum. The Citizen Oversight Board will help to ensure the efficacy of the OIM and will work to find its first leader.

The increased call for a police monitoring body stems from the death of Terence Crutcher, an unarmed black man, who was shot by former TPD officer Betty Shelby in 2016.

“As we develop our community policing program in Tulsa, we recognize the need for modernized oversight systems that provide accountability and transparency and build public trust between our residents and officers,” Mayor Bynum stated in a press release.

Post Author: Emily Every