Kathy Taylor's crime position paper

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Thanks to a helpful reader, I managed to find a cached version of the crime position paper that had been on Tulsa Mayor Kathy Taylor's campaign website prior to the 2006 election. Just in case it vanishes from there, I've posted the whole thing below, in the extended entry. It would be interesting to know from police officers and other insiders how many of these proposals have been put into motion.

I can still find no sign of Taylor's campaign commercials. If you happened to capture any of them, please contact me at blog at batesline dot com.

UPDATE 2006/05/28 10:30 pm: A reader with inside knowledge of Tulsa Police Department operations e-mailed his point-by-point review of Taylor's plan -- what's been implemented and what hasn't. For ease of comparison, I've added his review below each point.

Also (hat tip to MeeCiteeWurkor), the FOP local has a page devoted to tracking Taylor's campaign promises regarding crime. I'll include their evaluation as of today below each section.

The situation with the cameras ought to be easy and inexpensive to remedy. A simple digital camera ought to be standard equipment in every squad car.

Kathy Taylor Will Make Life Better For All Tulsans By Making Tulsa A Safer City.
Here is how she will do it.

Updated: April 3, 2006

The FACTS

Tulsa's overall crime rate is twice the national average. In the case of some crimes, it is even higher, especially for assaults, violent crimes, rapes, burglaries, and motor vehicle thefts. When we dig a little deeper, we find that juvenile crime is a significant contributor. In fact, juvenile arrests were 27.6% of total arrests in 2005, accounting for over one-third the burglary and nearly a quarter of rape arrests, not to mention the numbers of arrests for robbery (20%), auto thefts (32%) and assaults (17%). If we can reduce juvenile crime, we can reduce crime for the entire City. Gangs are active in virtually all parts of the City, particularly in those areas that are crime ridden. Children as young as ages 11-13 are being recruited into gangs.

The solutions are complex. Good jobs across the city will make an impact, as well as provide more resources for our officers and firefighters. Tulsa is a multi-generational city, with a significant retired population (12% over the age of 65). This portion of our population will continue to increase as Baby Boomers age. Crimes against the elderly are especially distressing, and addressing these crimes needs to be a much higher priority of this City.

For us to achieve our goals, Tulsa's budget needs to be used wisely and in collaboration with the state and county governments and private industry.

Make Life Better By:

  1. Putting Cops on the dots to focus on crime hot spots and clean them up.

Tulsa needs to bring up its ratio of police to citizens. But we need more than greater numbers of cops on the street. We need the smartest possible deployment of cops on the beat. Tulsa's Police Department already has the ability to gather and analyze where Tulsa's crime spots are, even down to the address where repeat violations are showing up. I will direct our Police Department to take that information and develop priority actions for the City to address those hot spots.

We need to not only focus our cops on the street in those hot spots; we must help them develop relationships with stakeholders. Where there is a chronic problem, we must get the neighborhood associations, churches and business owners involved with the single focus of cleaning up that street corner, one at a time if we need to.

One very effective, yet simple way to deter crime in hot spots is to make sure our city streetlights are working. Reports of lights not working should be treated as emergencies in these areas. And where there isn't enough light, the City must partner with PSO to expedite installing mid-street lighting. We have a backlog of requests for mid-street lighting; we must eliminate that backlog.

TPD insider comment: "She really hasn't done anything about this yet. I believe the new chief will be tasked with promoting officers to develop relationships with 'the neighborhood associations, churches and business owners.' The streetlights are still not working in many areas of the city."

FOP notes as not yet fulfilled Taylor's promise to increase the ratio of police to citizens.

  1. Getting cops past the paperwork and onto the streets

We must fast forward the incorporation of technology that empowers the officers in the field, giving them quicker access to information through our mobile data units. I will also seek an immediate review of technologies that reduce paperwork, duplication, and other administrative responsibilities that would otherwise keep the officer off the streets.

Tulsa's police are already tech savvy. For the last few years they have been using laptops in their vehicles. We need to make those laptops even more useful by connecting them wirelessly to all the resources they need back at headquarters and to each other.

We must streamline police paperwork, reporting procedures, booking and charging procedures, and other processes that keep officers off the street. For example, the Texas Municipal Police Association purchased software to reduce officer down-time for DUI enforcements. The purpose was to help deal with the enormous paperwork requirements on officers who make DWI arrests. The software reduces processing time by as much as 50%, putting officers back on the streets more quickly and making officers more willing to pursue DUI arrests.

We need to pursue federal funds to bring tools to our police, such as those recommended by the COPS MORE -- Making Officer Redeployment Effective -- program.

The program provides grants for new technologies, such as:

    • Computer-aided Dispatch (CAD)
    • Records Management Systems
    • Crime Analysis Hardware/Software
    • Automated Booking
    • Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems
    • Video Arraignment

We need to also look beyond the technology to Tulsa Police Department's own processes. We need to provide the chief with resources to help the front-line officers analyze what their time-wasters are and then deploy the solutions to eliminate them. This is the sort of good business practice that I have used in both business and government with real results.

TPD insider comment: "To my knowledge, this 'immediate review of technologies' never took place. Officers' laptops have the same functions they had before she took office. They have not made any additional changes to connect officers with the resources back at the divisions. There has been no streamlining of paperwork. In fact, with this new immigrant status check, officers' paperwork has now increased. Also, TPD's major crime scene detectives have been given new responsibilities so they are no longer available to come out and take pictures of domestic violence victims. As a result the uniformed officers in the field have to go to the division, check out a digital camera and then go back to the victim to take pictures of their injuries. Officers tried to just keep the cameras in their vehicle so they did not have to go back to the divisions but since TPD only has a limited number, it was determined that the cameras must stay at the division until needed. Once the pictures are taken, the officer has to go to the detective division (downtown main station) and download the images so they can be used as evidence. The entire process takes over an hour."

FOP notes as not yet fulfilled Taylor's promise to connect officer's laptops wirelessly to HQ resources and each other.

  1. Improving Senior safety by creating the Crimes Against the Elderly Detail

We need to create a special detail within the Tulsa Police Department, staffed by detective investigators specially trained to investigate violent crimes, property crimes and frauds and scams against the elderly and to work with elderly victims. The Detail would coordinate with adult protective services and designated specialists in the District Attorney's office.

We should adopt the TRIAD model of addressing Elderly crime. The TRIAD model was created by the AARP, the National Sheriff's Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The goals of the TRIAD model are to decrease reported crime to the Elderly, decrease the reluctance of Elderly victims to report crimes that have been committed against them, reduce Elderly citizen fear of crime, provide personalized, convenient, and timely service to the Elderly, and educate the public about the impact and seriousness of Elder crime. The TRIAD model is being used effectively across the country in such places as Scott County, Iowa, and Kane County, Illinois.

In addition, Louisiana and Illinois have specially certified Elderly Services Officers in their police departments. Oklahoma does not offer this certification, so I will work with our state law enforcement training agency (CLEET) to implement an Elderly Services Officer program so we can have our own ESOs in the Tulsa Police Department.

TPD insider comment: "A Crimes against the Elderly squad was formed. Their are two officers in the squad. They are responsible for all of the elderly crimes that takes place in the entire city. You could say they are overwhelmed at the least. The mayor just made this squad for P.R. purposes; there is no way she could believe that two people are enough. To my knowledge, she hasn't spoken to anyone at CLEET to implement an Elderly Services Officer program."

FOP notes as completed as of August 27, 2006, the promise to create a special detail to investigate crimes against the elderly.

  1. Protecting our children by inoculating them against gangs.

Juvenile gangs are a significant source of crime in Tulsa and they are recruiting gang members at younger ages, now as young as 11 years old. Tulsa used to have a gang tracking program, which we still need. We need to take effective action to address this problem.

The GRIP -- Gang Resistance is Paramount -- program in Paramount, California, has been cited as a best practice in 2005 by the US Conference of Mayors. It involves the school district, the sheriff's office and the City, who cooperate to provide gang resistance curriculum to second through fifth graders, and again in a ninth-grade follow-up program. GRIP also conducts anti-gang counseling for youth who are at the beginning stages of gang activity; and gang-awareness/youth-gang-prevention workshops for parents that are held in the community throughout the year.

The City's Community Services and Recreation Department runs the program. A study by the University of Southern California found that "since the inception of GRIP, there has been a significant decrease in major gangs, gang members and the ratio of gang members to residents in Paramount."

Two different studies showed that a year after the training, 90 percent of the students responded negatively to gangs; and four years later, over 90 percent of the students said they were staying out of gangs. This compares to the control group of students not receiving GRIP, where 50 percent were undecided about gangs.

TPD insider comment: "I'm not aware of anything new regarding this. The new chief will probably do something in this area."

  1. Removing repeat, hard-core juvenile offenders from our streets.

Not only does Tulsa need to inoculate our youth against gangs, we need to remove the most hard core gang members bullying our youth into joining. The state's Juvenile Offender Act is not strong enough to allow us to remove these repeat offenders from the streets. I will use my experience, knowledge and relationships with our governor and state legislators to get the necessary changes enacted, for the sake of our children.

At one time, Tulsa had a program for tracking repeat offenders. It no longer exists. I will reinstate that program. The program would be linked to all criminal justice agencies, creating channels for better communication, and more effective strategies for dealing with repeat offenders. The information gathered by this program was seen as an important benefit in making rulings, assessing correction needs, and meting out the right penalties.

Tulsa is the only city in Oklahoma without a Crisis Intervention Center, even though there are seven across the state. A Crisis Intervention Center is able to hold a child for up to 24 hours while they assess the child's and the family's needs on-site and then start lining up the necessary services for them. This requires the cooperation of the State and the County with our city, but it needs to happen.

Prevention has to be a part of Tulsa's strategy for addressing juvenile crime, and a Crisis Intervention Center is a source of prevention.

TPD insider comment: "As far as I know, the Crisis Intervention Center was never brought up in the legislative session. The program for tracking repeat offenders is still off-line. She has made no move to reinstate this program. Back in the day, TPD had a squad called ROPE. Basically the squad focused on repeat offenders. Their purpose was to gather intelligence about these individuals, learn which ones were still committing crimes, conduct surveillance on them and apprehend them while they were in the act of breaking the law."

FOP notes as not yet fulfilled Taylor's promise to reinstate the program for tracking repeat offenders.

  1. Adopting a "Broken Windows" policy to reclaim neighborhoods and prevent crime.

America's leading scholar on crime, James Q. Wilson, wrote several decades ago about an approach called "Broken Windows": It argued that minor signs of social neglect, like broken windows and graffiti, sent a message that the social order in such places had deteriorated and no authority could be expected to impose discipline for further violations of the law. The result was a spiraling of crime in these areas. The solution was an emphasis on stopping not just major crimes but also the conditions that can cause and encourage them -- like neighborhood decay and the lesser offenses that formed part of their fabric.

Tulsa needs to adopt a "Broken Windows" strategy; and we need to do a better job of partnering the police with City departments that can have the power to resolve problems - from broken street lights to abandoned cars and buildings, and hold department heads accountable when they fail to do so.

TPD insider comment: "This is still not happening. All anyone has to do is drive around North Tulsa. Specifically, go to North Cincinnati Avenue and turn back to the west after 46th Street North. Drive around in this neighborhood. Specifically look at 50th Street, Place or Court North. Their are many houses in this neighborhood that need to be boarded up or just torn down. This is just one example, their are numerous other areas that are just as bad if not worse."

  1. Create a public-private partnership to avoid wasted police resources.

False alarms from home and business security systems are expensive to Tulsa taxpayers and keep our police off the streets unnecessarily. Research from Temple University conducted by the Milken Institute shows that:



    • The cost annually, nationwide, for police responding to false alarms is $1.8 billion

    • A burglary occurs only 6% of the time when an alarm is triggered

    • 10% to 20% of police officer time is spent responding to false alarms

    • Solving this problem would be the equivalent of increasing the size of police forces across the nation by 35,000.

Tulsa needs to adopt a solution that works and makes efficient use of police officers' time while making our city safer. I will bring together representatives of the Police Department, the alarm industry, city staff and citizens to develop and execute the best solution.

TPD insider comment: "I think they met one time a few months ago. There has not been any change to our alarm policy."

FOP notes that an initial meeting was held to work out a solution to the problem of false alarms.

This is a sampling of innovative teamwork approaches to our crime problems I will lead as Mayor. We will continue to research solutions, because crime simply must be addressed for our children to have safe schools, for our seniors to have safe neighborhoods and to expand our job base.

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7 Comments

RecycleMichael said:

It is a good plan and she seems to be working on most of it in her first year.

No wonder crime is down.

Terry Aziere said:

What a great public service you have done saving our fearless leaders promise. Excellent report card sir! tja

Sam Roop said:

Crime is no different now than it was under Mayor LaFortune. Depending on how you look at the statistics and what time frame you look at you can make two completely different cases for crime being up or crime being down. As for the wireless capability to have police computers connect back to the divisions, money was put into the last 3rd penny to provide for such a system and we were working on just such as system when LaFortune left office. The greatest unfinished business was fixing the emergency management system it is in dire need of an organizing system used by the DOD and other states and large corporations.

sbtulsa said:

It seems to me fighting crime is analagous to a war. I doubt any politician will declare a state of emergency when they feel crime is out of hand. As in any war, you seek to overwhelm the enemy. To me that means more police on the streets for longer periods of time. Streamlining paperwork can have that effect. Adding to the authorized number of police, AND actually hiring and paying for more police, will have that effect also.

If you don't add to the size of the force, you can only put "cops on the dots" by taking them away from other areas of the city. With inadequate force numbers, any targeted effort will take resources away from other areas of the city or types of crimes.

If the statistics were as dark as the mayor's campaign said they were, why has she not moved heaven and earth to address this problem? That would be instead of moving city hall, selling off golf courses, and trips to the middle east.

The reasons are many. But apparently the power structure that runs this city does not consider the east, north and west as worthy of its time, resources, and political capital.

sbtulsa said:

I actually with mr. roop's contention. Stats have become political window dressing and little more when used in campaigns or to justify political records of accomplishment. My words interpreting roop's, not quoting him directly.

That said, crime is crime. Points 1,3,5,6 of taylor's plan envolve manpower. Until we get more cops in total, we are just re-arranging furniture.

We will be in the presence real leadership only when Taylor comes up with an adequate financing source dedicated either to fund "public safety" in general or police in particular. If its an exisitng tax, defend what costs you're cutting to re-direct to police. If its a new tax, defend the increase with the value additional police.

one way or the other stand up and be counted mayor. you did promise us more police ya' know.

Paul Tay said:

Mrs. Mommy 4 D1 Congress!

Ima D. Lightful said:

I certainly don't think our city operates like a city. Where's the leadership? Every mayor-- including our current one-- since I moved here in 1980 talks a good game about crime prevention, and then wants to dictate how the police should do their jobs, gives them more to do and no money with which to carry out the mandates. I say, hire a hell of a lot MORE cops, pay them a respectable salary for the work they do, and then shut up and let THEM police. They're the experts at it!! Just provide the resources or shut up.
We teachers have the same problem. Everyone thinks they can tell us how to educate our kids, and they waste so much of our time 'training' us on how to do the job, the job can't get done!!

I called about getting a street light on a pole mid-block to deter teens from parking on our side street and drinking. They litter our easement and we have also found drug paraphenalia, which we called the police to come and take. What is so hard about changing lights when citizens call them in? And why the impossible red tape to make our neighborhoods more safe and secure with more lighting???

Why is lighting our city so hard to do? Is it too expensive? I thought we had solar lights? We need to take care of the city proper and its infrastucture before it gets any more costly. Every year we wait, the cost goes up!!!!!!!!!

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on May 27, 2007 11:49 PM.

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