Unity desired between police, Lawton citizens urges creation of Citizens Advisory Board

Unity desired between police, Lawton citizens urges creation of Citizens Advisory Board

LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - In an attempt to create unity between the people of Lawton and the Police Department, a Citizens Advisory Board is in the works.

It’s an idea that originated back in 2007 by Bishop John Dunaway.

“The purpose of this board is not to be antagonistic towards our department, or against our citizens, but to be that entity that stands in the middle that works to pull both of them together,” said Bishop John Dunaway.

Jacobi Crowley, who is also involved with the board said after 13 years of work throughout the community, he’s excited to see this turn into more than just an idea.

“I think it’s better than just talking. It was great that we rallied, that we had a conversation, but now it’s time to put some plans in action,” said Jacobi Crowley.

From an officer’s perspective, Chief James Smith said trust in police appears to be dwindling, which is something he does not want to happen in Lawton.

“In this time of crisis, this is not the time to try and build trust, building trust happens each and every day,” said LPD Chief James Smith.

Chief Smith said for him... two worlds are colliding... in a sense.

And as an African American Police Chief, he saud what’s going on across the country is devastating, and action by an officer that shares his same career is disheartening.

But he wants to make sure the people in Lawton know his department is on their side.

“We are here to help people, not to oppress,” said Chief Smith.

If this board is approved by Council, Bishop Dunaway said it’s on the people of Lawton to keep this fight alive.

“They have a responsibility, along with our police, but the community more so to not let it die down, not let it become stagnant," said Bishop Dunaway.

Lawton City Council will vote on this at a meeting in the next few weeks.

If approved by Lawton City Council, Bishop Dunaway said they plan to choose community members through an application review process... done by another committee of leaders throughout Lawton.

More details will be released soon on how you can apply.

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