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Leaders want Oklahoma City’s new top cop to boost relations

The Associated Press - July 9, 2019 1:21 pm

New Oklahoma City Police Chief Wade Gourley pauses near the end of his remarks after emotions rendered him momentarily speechless and caused tears to form in his eyes as he was giving credit to God for his talents and acknowledging many others who have supported him during his lengthy career in law enforcement. Gourley looked at the words on a sheet of paper on the podium and bit his lips while regaining his composure to finish his speech. He stood before fellow officers, commanders and administrative personnel at a news conference at police headquarters Monday, July 8, 2019, after being introduced by City Manager Craig Freeman as the new chief. Gourley has been an Oklahoma City police officer for 30 years and was serving as one of the police department's four deputy chiefs before being promoted to chief. He succeeds former Police Chief Bill Citty, who retired in May after 15 years as head of the department. Freeman said "Chief Gourley fits the mold of what we're looking for: he's open, honest, innovative and experienced, and he will lead by example. I'm confident he will lead our police department to continue to serve and protect all residents in a fair and equitable manner." Gourley is Oklahoma City's 50th chief. He will oversee the 1,235 uniformed officers and 304 other staff members in the police department. [Jim Beckel/The Oklahoman]

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Oklahoma City community leaders say they want the city’s new police chief to improve relations between the police department and historically underrepresented groups.

Wade Gourley was appointed Monday as the department’s first new chief in 15 years. He’s a 30-year veteran of the force and replaces former Chief Bill Citty, who retired in May after 41 years with the agency.

State Sen. George Young of Oklahoma City told The Oklahoman it’s important for Gourley to shift the community’s mood about the police force.

Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform’s Kris Steele says he hopes Gourley employs a diverse police force. About 6 percent of the department’s officers are Hispanic 6 percent are black and 1 percent are Asian. But the Census Bureau says Oklahoma City’s population is 18.5 percent Hispanic, 14.3 percent black and 4 percent Asian.

 

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