Tulsa Mayor Bynum Addresses New Police, Last Few Months In Office

Mayor GT Bynum's term is coming to an end here in Tulsa. One of his most recent decisions involves naming the city's next police chief. The Mayor joined News On 6 at 9 a.m. to talk about that decision and the city's first billion-dollar budget.

Wednesday, June 12th 2024, 10:00 am

By: News On 6


Mayor GT Bynum's term is coming to an end here in Tulsa. One of his most recent decisions involves naming the city's next police chief.

Mayor Bynum Addresses The Departure Of Chief Wendell Franklin

"I had hoped for Chief Franklin to be there forever. I think the world of him. He and I have become very close through all of the challenges that we've had to manage over the last five years. But I also entirely appreciate the desire to move on and have a new opportunity in your career. Certainly, I'm doing the exact same thing. And he has been in the Tulsa Police Department for over two decades at this point. So, he, is if anybody has earned a retirement from the police department, it's Wendell Franklin. I'm just grateful that he's found a great position here in Tulsa and will still be here. And we're not losing him to another city. It's great that you'll still be here in Tulsa."

LeAnne: Were there any moments in his term that were highlights for you?

"Well, I think two things stand out about Chief Franklin's leadership to me. One is how steady in a crisis he's been over the last four years, you think about the fact that he was sworn in as Chief of Police a week before the first case of COVID hit Oklahoma. And to have led our police department through everything that happened in 2020, to have led us through natural disasters, through a cyber attack that shut down computers in police cars, through the loss of a beloved Tulsa police sergeant in the near loss of a young officer. He's just been a remarkable, steady leader through so many crises. Looking ahead, though, I think the great legacy that he'll leave is the modernization of the police department. from a technology standpoint, the real-time information center that we worked together to implement, it was his vision. That is what police officers have told me that's the biggest change in policing in Tulsa since they put radios in squad cars now. And the the ability that this is going to create for officers to do their job effectively moving forward and to better protect Tulsans you really can't quantify it, it's going to be tremendous. And that's all because of Chief Franklin's vision."

Mayor Bynum On His Decision To Select Dennis Larsen As The Next Tulsa Police Chief

"You know, for me, there were lots of different factors but to really stood out above everything else. One is that it needs to be somebody that I have complete confidence they're going to keep the citizens of Tulsa safe. That's the most important job that we have at the City of Tulsa. That's the most important job that the Tulsa police department has, is keeping the citizens of Tulsa safe. And Chief Larson has a strong background in that regard, through decades of leadership in the Tulsa police department, and leadership over some of the divisions within the department that are the most highly regarded on a national basis.

The other thing, though, that it's very important to me is that we have a chief who takes care of the men and women in the department that you know, I love the men and women in the Tulsa police department. The the sacrifices that they make to keep all of us safe, are profound. And I wanted to make sure that we would have achieved that would do all they could to keep them safe and enable them to go home to their families at the end of the day and Chief Larson. Again, demonstrated through decades. He has a tremendous love for the Tulsa police department. He has put the Tulsa police department ahead of himself ahead of his career, time and time again. I'm confident that he is going to be a great chief for the Tulsa police department and for our city."

Mayor Bynum On Tulsa's First Billion Dollar Budget

"This is the last budget that I'll pass as mayor. This is the first budget we've ever had as a city that's over a billion dollars. It's really important for folks to understand that this is occurring without any time tax increase that is solely because of the growth in our economy. It's also really important that folks know it's a balanced budget. Unlike other levels of government, we don't go into debt. We don't print currency. We only spend what comes in and I'm really grateful for my colleagues on the city council who've worked so closely with me over the last six months to develop a budget that I think will position our city and my successor in this office to do great things over the year ahead.

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