Board appointments, policing, and marijuana processing plants took up a lot of the Sand Springs city council’s time, but Montie Box made an impassioned plea for a sign to commemorate a Sand Springs hero.
Box, who has been instrumental in the growth of Sand Springs and Prattville, spoke about NASA astronaut William R. Pogue Monday, June 22 at the Case Community Center.
Vice Mayor Patty Dixon proposed the purchase of a commemorative sign to be placed on city-owned land, and she asked Box to speak about Pogue and what he meant to Sand Springs.
“Bill Pogue was one of a kind, guys,” Box said.
Pogue was accepted into the astronaut training program in 1966 and, in his career, set a record of 84 days in space as the pilot of Skylab4, and he was alone in space for two days. The record stood for over 20 years. Pogue died in 2014 at the age of 84 years old. He graduated from Sand Springs High School in 1947, a little of over 10 years before it was renamed Charles Page High School.
“Where else can we find another person that looked down on Sand Springs? Let me tell you, Bill Pogue was one of the good old Broadway Baptist (Church) boys, and he was a good man… The only thing I can say is this city needs something that honors Bill Pogue. He was great man, guys. Think about the things he did… I think we should honor Bill Pogue, and let’s do it,” Box said.
The city council approved the measure and is taking bids for signs, and U.S. Route 412 was discussed as a possible location.
Sand Springs Police Chief Mike Carter then discussed the police department’s policing plan that started five years ago.
After riots and looting in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014, Carter started to look at police reform and what his department could do better to help others.
“I’m very proud of our community. This is our fifth year for the policing plan, and if you’ve been following the unrest with what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis, there’s been a lot of talk about reform for police departments, as you see it every night on the news,” Carter said.
Carter is five years into the city’s policing plan, and some cities are just now discussing a plan.
Carter discussed some of the issues they have implemented and some they are currently looking to adopt into the plan. The Chief mentioned an officer’s duty to intervene if another officer is using excessive force, not shooting into moving vehicles, de-escalating situations, required verbal warnings before firing a weapon, and banning chokeholds.
Sand Springs also purchased leg restraints, and Carter said that could have prevented George Floyd’s death, stating that the officer might have thought Floyd could get up and run. Carter also denounced the officer’s use of force on Floyd. On May 25, Floyd was killed during an arrest when a Minneapolis officer allegedly suffocated Floyd with a knee to Floyd’s neck area.
The PD is also going to hold all video data for five years. In the past, police kept video for 90 days, and Carter wants to be as transparent as possible. He also bought pepper ball guns, and Sand Springs officers had them on hand while working President Donald Trump’s Tulsa rally Saturday, June 20 at the BOK, but they did not have to use them.
“Community outreach – one of the things we want to do is talk to our citizens. Sometimes, we in government need to do a better job of listening. We’ve come up with a plan where we provide all of the homeowner’s associations to meet at the police department for free… It’s a great opportunity for the police department to meet with our citizens and hear their concerns and take actions on those concerns,” Carter said.
The PD also has a drug take-back program, where citizens can turn in unwanted or found medication. The PD has two large mailbox-like boxes outside of the Billie A. Hall Public Safety Center.
Earlier in the meeting, the city council voted down the special use permit for a medical marijuana processing plant in an old daycare center, located at 801 Long Street, but they approved a different processing plant and a dispensary.
The council approved Ordinance No. 1351 which would require businesses in Sand Springs to file for a business license. The license would be free and would need to be renewed yearly. The license allows the city have a registry of businesses with contact information for emergencies.