Law enforcement in Oklahoma teamed up with activists to approve a list of 20 items that need to be addressed between police and the community, reports The Oklahoman. After a day of discussion, a group that included police chiefs, sheriffs and community leaders signed the list of items. The group, known as the Police and Community Trust initiative, was created last February. Yesterday was their inaugural summit. The approved items included stronger law enforcement presence and engagement at community events, educational brochures on interacting with police and implementing anti-bias training.
The initiative is designed to build genuine trust between law officers and the communities they serve. A number of agencies outside of law enforcement were also represented, including leaders of local branches of the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, National Alliance on Mental Illness, YWCA-OKC, Raindrop Turkish-American Cultural Center, and the MLK Prayer Breakfast Committee. Representatives of Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse and Office of Disability Concerns also participated. “It has everything to do with collaboration, continuous collaboration on the issues that affect the community. Everybody has the tendency to look upon law enforcement as a negative, but it’s like anything else, if you don’t address your concerns they won’t ever be addressed,” said Garland Pruitt, president of the Oklahoma City NAACP. Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty said, “We want to do things that create the best possible outcome on anything we respond to. There’s no doubt we can do a better job of that. So much of what we do is dependent upon the community having a willingness to call us and trust us and talk to us.”