Sand Springs Police working on 2019-2020 Community Policing Plan

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Sand Springs Police Chief Mike Carter spoke about the department’s 2019 Community Policing Plan and took public comment at Monday evening’s regular City Council Meeting.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the SSPD has adopted a revised policing plan, and the department received an international award for their work last year. The department will weigh public and City Council suggestions/concerns and adjust their policing plan annually to address the ever-changing community needs.

One change coming to the department in the coming year is that officers will be allowed to have visible tattoos. “We’ve turned away some probably very good applicants because they had visible tattoos,” said Carter. The department recently ran a Facebook poll and found that 93% of respondents have no problem with officers showing tattoos.

The department will also have mandatory autism training for all officers over the next year. “Sometimes when you have a juvenile, or even an adult who suffers from autism, sometimes their behavior can be misinterpreted by a police officer,” said Carter. “That’s led to some bad things in the United States. We want to avoid that.”

Officers recently went through Critical Incident Inoculation with a psychiatrist to help them avoid PTSD and depression. New business cards will be also issued for all officers with a complaint/compliment space on one side of the card.

In other news:

City Council unanimously approved the sale of $6,500,000 in bonds at Monday evening’s regular meeting. Sand Springs citizens approved the bonds in November of 2017 to provide for economic development, aesthetic improvements, park enhancements, public safety, street overlays, and other infrastructure projects.

Council unanimously voted to authorize the pursuit of a BUILD Grant Application from the U.S. Department of Transportation in partnership with OmniTrax. The City and OmniTrax hope to use the grant to improve extensive freight railway conditions and locations throughout the City. The grant would be an 80/20 matching grant up to $25 million.

The BUILD funds could be used to remove railway along Main Street and the crossing at the intersection of Morrow and Main, as well as to expand Main Street to three lanes. It could also be used for constructing a roadway over the Arkansas River levee, upgrades to Broad Street, and railroad upgrades and improvements along Charles Page Boulevard.

Council unanimously approved dilapidation public nuisance findings against 403 North Lincoln Avenue.

Council unanimously approved a $10,000 transfer of funds related to the upcoming 2019 Community Development Block Grant Water Line Replacement Project. The City will be replacing approximately 980 linear feet of 4-inch cast iron water line with 8-inch PVC water line along Lincoln Avenue from 4th Street to 6th Street.

Council unanimously approved the Final Plat for Stone Villa Second Phase I. The subdivision will consist of 45 lots on 9.5 acres south of 51st Street between Bahama Avenue and South 129th West Avenue. Council also approved a Public Utility Easement for the location of landscaping, fencing, and signage along the perimeter of the subdivision.

Councilman Brian Jackson presented a request to have a Masonic Cornerstone installed on the new Billie A. Hall Public Safety Center. The motion died at a previous Council meeting after concerns were raised about the cost of installation. Since then the Masonic Lodge has volunteered to cover the costs, but the motion died once again. Jackson and Patty Dixon voted yea; Phil Nollan, Beau Wilson, Mike Burdge voted nay; Jim Spoon and Christine Hamner were absent.

Council unanimously approved an ordinance declaring various items in the City and Police Department’s possession as surplus, authorizing the destruction of some items and the auction of others.

Council unanimously approved the creation of a Public Utility Easement at Keystone Ancient Forest to deliver water and electric utilities to a planned Visitors Center.

Council unanimously approved a $40,000 change order regarding parking lot additions and infrastructure improvements at the Case Community Park splash pad and baseball facilities.

Council unanimously approved the annexation of a vacant property owned by the City along the State Highway 97 right-of-way to Pond Drive.

Council unanimously approved the closing of a 20 ft. wide easement and right of way access in the Oakbridge Addition. By closing the easement it will allow a neighboring property to construct a single-family residence over the common lot line.