As law enforcement agencies across the nation continue to seek ways to study on and improve their relationships with the public, the Tulsa Police Department has launched its citizen attitude and opinion survey.
The department conducts the survey every three years, hoping to pull different demographic data from the results to help determine areas for improvement, officer Demita Kinard said.
“We really tend to see what people actually think about the department,” Kinard said. “We get responses, you know, from ‘You guys are great,’ to ‘You guys suck dirty toes.’ But the result is that we see areas where we’ve improved and areas where people think we need to step it up.”
The survey is available in both English and Spanish, and will run until Oct. 1. It breaks down answers through demographics like age, race, gender, and income.
Questions (of which there are about 50) range from queries about how citizens have felt during encounters with officers (did the officer act courteous, did the officer look professional,) to “do you feel safe when outside at night,” or “do you feel safe when you see a police officer?”
The survey also asks respondents if they feel safer than they did three years ago, and questions if there are specific areas (drug crime, violent crime, gang violence) they feel TPD should be spending more resources on.
“We hear from people all through the year on things they think we need to focus on,” Kinard said. “But there are things people don’t tell us that they will say on the survey. You’d be surprised what they’ll say on there.”
Responses generally change depending on location within the city. According to the 2013 questionnaire, 64 percent of south Tulsa residents reported feeling safe, as opposed to 28 percent in east Tulsa, 27 percent in west Tulsa and 12 percent in north Tulsa.
The survey comes at an important time for the department. Voters earlier this year OK’d the Vision Tulsa sales tax, which will set aside millions of dollars to add 160 officers to the department over a 15-year span. Determining areas of weakness could help decide how and where to allocate that new manpower.
Kinard said the department received more than 1,100 responses from the 2013 survey.