New Tulsa police chief announced, Indigenous representation appears to be left out of decision-making

OklahomaPoliticsCommunity Indigenous
Collaborator: Brittany Harlow
Published: 05/24/2024, 7:46 PM
Edited: 05/24/2024, 7:47 PM

(TULSA, Okla.) Deputy Chief Dennis Larsen was named Tulsa’s next police chief on Friday afternoon, overcoming fellow internal candidates Deputy Chief Jonathan Brooks, Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish, Maj. Laurel Roberts and Maj. Matt McCord. 

Larsen has been with TPD for 45 years, currently serving as Deputy Chief over the Investigative Bureau.

Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum narrowed the candidate pool from eight to five just two days ago, followed by a second round of interviews conducted by city officials and a citizens panel a day later.

A VNN audience member reached out to us, asking us to look into the potential lack of Indigenous representation on Thursday’s citizens panel.

The City of Tulsa has the highest Indigenous population in the state at roughly 40,000, second only to Oklahoma City.

We reached out to Bynum’s office to learn more about the citizens on the panel and was provided the following list: 

-Maria Barnes, Tulsa Police Community Advisory Board member and former Tulsa City Councilor

-Jack Blair, Tulsa City Attorney 

-Mayor G.T. Bynum

-Deputy Mayor Cassia Carr

-Jeannie Cue, Tulsa City Council Chair

-Jeff Downs, President of Tulsa Fraternal Order of Police

-Blake Ewing, Mayor’s Chief of Staff

-Erica Felix-Warwick, City of Tulsa Human Resources Director

-Karen Gilbert, Executive Director of Crime Prevention Network and former Tulsa City Councilor

-Julie Harris, Director of Security for Saint Francis Health System and Retired Tulsa Police Major

-Dr. Rebecca Hubbard, City of Tulsa Chief Mental Health Officer

-Phil Lakin, Tulsa City Council Vice Chair

-Tim Newton, Executive Director of Tulsa Dream Center and Member of Tulsa Police Community Advisory Board

-Trent Shores, Attorney with GableGotwals and former United States Attorney

-Martha Zapata, Tulsa Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

While the citizens panel appears to offer gender diversity of both men and women and racial diversity of white, Black, and Hispanic representation, Indigenous representation does not appear to be included during this second round of police chief interviews.  

City of Tulsa Spokesperson Carson Colvin said the panel was selected by Bynum. 

VNN asked representatives from the City of Tulsa and the mayor’s office if any of the citizens on the panel are Indigenous and what Mayor Bynum did to include Indigenous perspective throughout the selection process of the new police chief. 

Those questions have yet to be answered. 

Chief Wendell Franklin is set to retire at the end of July. 

This is a developing story. Check back for updates. 

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