Communication is an extremely important factor in adequately serving and policing our community. Police highly depend on direct information from the public in order to address the crime needs of our city and accurately assess crime trends. Open dialogue allows citizens to be able to engage with and get to know the police officers in their neighborhood. Trust and transparency is built on honesty and communication. This philosophy not only makes a community a better place to live but also a better place to work. A positive relationship with our public can also breed endearment towards our public servants and thus make Oklahoma City a safer place for them to work. The above can only be accomplished through various forms of community outreach efforts and engagement opportunities. The Oklahoma City Police Departments has been involved in various consistently events spread out city-wide. You can read more about the different types of events below and hopefully participate one of our schedule events to learn more about our police department and what we’re doing to make Oklahoma City a safe and great place to live.
• OKCPD Associations – The Oklahoma City Police Department has a history of on-going and long-term relationships with various organizations and community stakeholders. These relationships are sustained by the Police Department’s willingness to engage community leaders and citizens through frequent community forums, neighborhood associations, academic institutions, churches, schools, civic groups, traditional media, social media, websites and e-mail correspondence to maintain open dialogue about important issues affecting the community. Some examples of organizations are Artists for Justice, Coalition to Advance Community Concerns, Oklahoma City Public Schools, NAACP, the Latino Community Development Agency (LCDA), Concerned Clergy Spiritual Renewal (CCSR), Black Lives Matter, Ending Violence Everywhere (EVE), YWCA Shelter, Homeless Alliance, Urban League, National Alliance on Mental Illness, Neighborhood Alliance, as well as a number of other institutions and individuals that may request the Police Department’s involvement in responding to citizens’ concerns. Through our on-going communication and involvement with organizations and individuals, the Oklahoma City Police Department is able to build relationships and stay informed of issues that are constantly evolving in a culturally diverse community.
• Town Hall Meetings and Community Forums – Town hall meetings and community forums are routinely scheduled throughout the year and include the police department and community members. Attendees are able to ask questions related to the police department, its policies and the enforcement of the law. Town hall meetings afford the police department the opportunity to openly engage with the community, and to share information through a constructive dialogue with the public. The Police Department has increased the number of town hall meetings within the Black community recently to expose more officers to minority concerns, as well as citizens to the challenges of policing minority neighborhoods.
•Roundtable Discussions – Various news organizations, academic institutions and civic groups have recently requested the Chief of Police or staff to appear in public roundtable discussions to discuss social and crime related issues as well as current events. These discussions are usually recorded and displayed on internet and social media sites in order to share the topics and information with the public. Such events can spark constructive dialogue and information sharing. In 2015 -16, the police department has participated in an increased number of events related to police and minority relationships.
• Coffee with a Cop – The Oklahoma City Police Department has partnered with the Neighborhood Alliance to participate in “Coffee with a Cop.” This event is announced through social media and offers the opportunity for members of the community to have a cup of coffee with the police officers who work within that area of the community. The event is scheduled about once a month, and takes place in various locations throughout the city. The event not only creates an opportunity for the public to get to know the police officers in their area, but also allows them the opportunity to voice any concerns which they may have.
• PACT Forum and Summit - In 2015 the Oklahoma City Police Department joined efforts with the humanrights organization Ending Violence Everywhere (E.V.E.) and various other law enforcement and community stakeholders in a series of open discussions specifically aimed at reviewing and assessing organizational policies and practices. The overall goal was to discuss the recommendations listed in the 21st Century Policing report and commit to the future development of the report’s recommendations. The organized discussions, which included the community forum in the spring of 2015 and an organization summit in early 2016, became known as Police and Community Teamwork (P.A.C.T.).
• Shop with a Cop – During the holiday season the police department partners with local non-profit organizations who provide funds to buy Christmas presents for underprivileged children from at-risk areas of Oklahoma City. The Shop with a Cop event allows police officers in uniform to pair up with kids to shop for Christmas presents for both them and their families. This annual event creates a mentoring opportunity for kids to engage the police officers who serve their community.
• Christmas in the Barrio – This annual event includes 500-1000 Hispanic children who are invited to a Christmas gathering with music, games and presents. Various community leaders, including the Chief of Police, are invited to engage with the crowd and give a message of unity and cooperation. Children receive prizes and presents throughout the three-hour event.
• Jamming Hoops Fest – Jamming Hoops Fest is a basketball tournament-style community outreach event hosted and coordinated by the Oklahoma City Police Department. The event is held on Thursday evenings through the summer months in northeast Oklahoma City. The goal of the program is to have youth from at-risk neighborhoods, off the streets and in a positive setting that allows mentoring by police officers and volunteers. About 250 kids participate every week and receive a “life lesson” by a guest speaker, dinner (hot dogs or burgers) and play tournament basketball where they win prizes for good sportsmanship and participation. The summer of 2017 was the eighth consecutive year for Jamming Hoops Fest.
• School/Police Community Meetings – A good public school system is vital to the success of any community. The Oklahoma City Police Department has a strong partnership with the Oklahoma City Public School System (OKCPS). This partnership is important to maintain the safety of children and administrators within more than 70 schools in the OKCPS. The police department participates with school staff and parents through individual and community meetings to discuss school and community expectations within the educational system. This allows for police, school personnel, students and parents to be involved in decisions, allow for better understanding of the school environment, and identify potential problems and concerns.