In 2016, 32 Oklahomans were killed by police officers – that was the third-highest per capita rate of such killings, behind only Alaska and New Mexico. Data collected from list Oklahoma City as having the second-highest average rate of police killings per population from 2013 – 2019, with Tulsa ranking fifth. Of the 32 Oklahoman’s mentioned above, 25 were Black.

Mayor Holt appointed Dr. Thompson to a 45-member task force to study and make recommendations on Oklahoma City Police Department policies to de-escalate potentially violent interactions with citizens and independent oversight. She will focus on engaging the Urban League on three areas of police reform:

• Strengthening the diversity hiring standards and practices for the Oklahoma City Police Department

• Review and revision of police use of deadly force policies

• Review of Oklahoma City’s de-escalation techniques and training specific to mental health issues

Also, Dr. Thompson was recently appointed to a 12-member internal working group to oversee a consultant hired by the task force. The task force hired 21CP Soulutions as consultants for this work. 21CP is tasked with examining issues, including crisis response training, alternatives for responding to mental health calls, and programs to reduce neighborhood violence. The Urban League’s Community Convening and Social Justice Department will lead efforts to secure community input and support of the 21CP consultants. The National Urban League and other local and state groups have made police reform a critical issue in Oklahoma. The National Urban League has been actively engaged in police reform for at least the last six years since the death of Michael Brown, releasing a 10-point plan for police reform.

  • Items in Progress

    • The CCSJ staff is working directly with the OKC Police Department’s minority recruiter and the President of the OKC Black Police Officers Association, Major Ron Bacy, on initiatives to increase recruitment of African American police officers

    • The CCSJ staff and Dr. Thompson, who is on the oversight committee for consultants, 21CP, is providing consultation for the City of OKC to improve officer de-escalation tactics, addressing mental health calls, and programs to reduce neighborhood violence. We will monitor the effect of the consultants’ work on increasing officers being Crisis Intervention Trained (CIT) and CIT certified.

    • The Urban League is leading efforts to seek community input on developing new policies recommended by the consultant on police de-escalation tactics.

    Our work in this space will help create diverse hiring practices in the Oklahoma City Police Department and create a more robust program of de-escalation practices, especially in black and brown communities.