Mayor G.T. Bynum has chosen four finalists from the seven internal candidates to be Tulsa’s next police chief.
The finalists are Deputy Chief Jonathan Brooks, Deputy Chief Eric Dalgleish, Maj. Wendell Franklin and Deputy Chief Dennis Larsen.
That must’ve been a difficult choice for the mayor because there is a lot of talent and experience in the Tulsa Police Department, and the seven had impressive qualifications and years of experience.
Bynum has the option of choosing the next chief from the four or reopening the process, which could bring candidates from outside TPD into the process.
The four candidates were interviewed by a panel of 10 community stakeholders Friday afternoon and appeared at a public presentation Friday evening. The panel interview was closed to the public. Questions from the public weren’t part of the evening’s event, but the candidates were asked to interact with those in attendance informally afterwards.
That’s a little less than we had hoped for in terms of transparency, but pretty good. The people who will be paying the new chief’s salary and interacting with the officers under his command have had a chance to hear him discuss his philosophy and vision for the department. They’ve had a (limited) opportunity to tell him what they think, and still have time to give their responses to Bynum before he makes a choice.
Bynum has involved the public and a variety of stakeholders, and he deserved public credit for that. Most Tulsans didn’t know any of the four finalists before very recently. Now we’ll have a chance to look at their records and see them interact with the public.
To continue the metaphor we used in last week’s editorial: We’re about to buy a house, but before we do so, we should have someone do a title search and make sure we like the carpet. Bynum has recognized that need and has done a good job accommodating it.
Police chiefs aren’t chosen by referendum, nor should they be. The responsibility for this decision goes to one man, G.T. Bynum. By keeping the process as transparent as he has, Bynum has allowed us to learn a little bit about the person who is likely to lead the police department for several years, which is good for TPD and good for the city.