There’s a new sheriff in town and he said we can expect some big changes.
Republican Tommie Johnson III won Tuesday’s election for Oklahoma County Sheriff. His top priority is increasing patrols.
“That's the No. 1 thing that deters crime and we have to be there to do it,” Johnson said.
Johnson said he also wants to outfit all deputies with body cameras and improve their training, especially when it comes to arrest procedures, physically restraining suspects and working with people who have addiction or mental health issues.
"Like, how do we respond to mental health situations? What's our protocol after that? What is our end goal?" Johnson said. “We need to know what to do in that point so when we get there, be able to deescalate a situation. Get somebody calmed down. Then, once we get them calmed down, let’s have a place or a resource for them that we can get them to."
Johnson said he wants a seat on the newly-created jail trust and also wants to increase deputies’ salaries.
Right now, the salaries start at just under $40,000 a year. Johnson said the sheriff’s office is losing good deputies to higher paying police departments.
Johnson would also want to publish the sheriff department’s annual budget online and conduct a full audit of the finances.
"When you look at 2017, the audit that was performed and you see that $3 million of money and assets went up missing. We have no clue where they went,” Johnson said. “Nobody's even sure if there’s anything in place to make sure that never happens again. People are crying out, ‘What happened to it?’ What are you doing now?’"
Even with his new administrative role, Johnson plans to remain a cop first.
"I will still wear a uniform and get out there with the guys from time to time,” Johnson said. “Show them that I'm one of you."
Johnson will take office in January.