OKC City Councilman Calls For Changes To Community Policing


Tuesday, April 20th 2021, 5:12 pm
By: Karl Torp


OKLAHOMA CITY -

In the wake of several deadly police shootings, Oklahoma City has started a conversation on how to make its police department better.

Oklahoma City hired an outside consulting group to help hear from residents on possible changes.

21CP Solutions out of Chicago held an town hall style meeting recently to hear from Oklahoma City residents.

City Councilman James Cooper said we have to rethink community policing.

“If someone is black, they are somewhere around three times more likely to find themselves dead when they have an encounter with law enforcement,” Cooper said.

The councilman has half dozen ideas he'd like implemented.

One is being used in Denver, Colorado, now.

It puts two mental health professionals in a van all day.

The duo is ready to respond and calm someone in their moment of crisis.

Denver is paying $1.4 million from its 2021 city budget to add to the number of vans.

“These are opportunities we know we can study and we can make the best version of it in our city,” Cooper said.

Another one of Cooper’s ideas includes a violence interruption program.

The program is being used in Newark, New Jersey.

Newark's Community Street Team has even employed ex-gang members to find out what's going on in neighborhoods.

“If someone commits a murder, they are the ones finding out if some sort of retaliatory moment is about to happen,” Cooper said.

The Ward 2 councilman is calling for all OCPD Officers to receive crisis intervention training and have access to mental health services for themselves anytime day or night.

He told News 9 the money to pay for these programs would most likely not come for the police budget, but Oklahoma City’s general fund.

”I have faith that our city manager and the city manager's office will figure out where in this budget to meet this moment,” Cooper said.

Cooper said he also wants to expand homeless and youth outreach programs.

The city councilman wants to hear from you on his ideas.

You can email your opinions to voicesofOKC@21CPsolutions.com.