Oklahoma democratic lawmakers have launched an initiative for law enforcement reform in the state.
The ultimate goal with the initiate is to increase transparency and provide accountability for law enforcement agencies all across the state. It’s called “March For Reform.”
“I'm currently working on a bipartisan study to take a closer look at these ideas and others as part of a comprehensive reform package here in Oklahoma,” said Representative Monroe Nichols, (D) Tulsa. “These are not only necessary reforms, but they represent a new standard of practice in critical steps Oklahoma has taken to protect citizens and restore faith and trust in law enforcement.”
The initiative offers the following solutions:
·Create the Office of Independent Monitor within the Oklahoma State Attorney General’s Office.
·Mandate OSBI report the total number of excessive force cases online, broken down by county and department. The report should also denote if use of force was deemed justified or if there was any disciplinary action taken.
·Review cases in the event of a citizen’s death due to an action or inaction by a law enforcement officer. If the Independent Monitor determines there is no basis for prosecution of the law enforcement officer, access to the report shall be made available electronically within 14 days of the determination.
·Create the Oklahoma State Law Enforcement Standards and Training Taskforce.
·Study community policing standards and training.
·Examine use of force policies and data.
·Make legislative recommendations to standardize training in Oklahoma.
Critical Incident Accountability
·Require law enforcement agencies to report officer resignations during internal investigations, just prior to being fired for cause.
·Flag officers in a database to notify law enforcement agencies that may consider those officers for employment.
Nichols believes now will be the right time to accomplish the initiative.
“I think it’s clear across the country that things have changed,” said Nichols. “When you see national political figures like Mitt Romney marching in a (Washington) DC protest I think it’s clear that the ground has shifted on these issues quite a bit.”
With a family of law enforcement himself, Nichols believes, everyone’s best interests are kept in mind.
“I really believe that these reforms are reforms that keep folks like my uncle as safe as they keep folks who look like me who are just out in the community who might to your point get pulled over,” said Nichols.
The president of the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police, John George, said he hasn't had a chance to look at the proposed reforms, but said he's always willing to talk about what can be done better.
The next legislative session starts in February when Nichols hopes to get reforms put into law.