Editor’s Note: The research team will present their initial findings to Mayor G.T. Bynum and the Tulsa City Council on Wed., Sept. 25, 1 p.m. at a Council meeting.
In early 2018, prior to the initial release of the Equality Indicators Report and Resilient Tulsa Strategy, the Tulsa Police Department partnered with national research experts to begin a comprehensive study titled, A Multi-Method Investigation of Officer Decision-Making and Force Used or Avoided in Arrest Situations, to examine Tulsa Police arrests and use of force decisions.
The Tulsa Police Department has taken a leadership role in the law enforcement community by seeking and engaging a research partner for the use of force study to proactively learn more about use-of-force decision making. This study is the first of its kind in the nation on police use of force and will serve not only the Tulsa community and Tulsa Police Department but will be disseminated across the nation to inform national discussion on policing and continue to move law enforcement agencies toward evidence-based policies and practices.
The use of force study was initiated through the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)/University of Cincinnati Center for Police Research and Policy and led by researchers from the University of Texas San Antonio Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
“Yet again, the Tulsa Police Department has sought outside expertise to analyze the Department and help us better understand the work being done. This kind of independent evaluation is what the best organizations utilize as they strive to continuously improve, and I am grateful for the commitment to excellence exhibited by the men and women of the Tulsa Police Department. I am also very thankful for our partners in this nationally-important study: the John and Laura Arnold Foundation, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the University of Cincinnati, and the University of Texas - San Antonio.”
Researchers were interested in the study as police departments throughout the country understand use of force can be an aspect of policing and that can pose the greatest threat to legitimacy and the breakdown of trust between police and communities.
“The Tulsa Police Department has the highest educated and highest trained officers in the country,” Tulsa Deputy Chief of Police Jonathan Brooks said. “We will be on the forefront of policing by listening and working with our community and research experts to continuously improve policy and training that will help deliver the highest level of protection and service Tulsans deserve.”
The overarching goal of the project is to provide a deeper understanding on how and why police use or desist from the use of force to identify policy and training opportunities. The study will also help identify ways the Tulsa Police Department can reduce the need for force, lower the rate of injuries or deaths to citizens, and reduce police victimization when interacting with members of the public under stressful or uncertain conditions.