News of OKCPD officer accused and arrested of sexual assaults in NE Oklahoma City last week has shown some outrage across Twitter and Facebook as aspects of it flashed under #rapeculture http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_culture worldwide.
A spectrum of questions were presented as public concern the issue of complacency in mishandling sex assault on the part of OKC, at the Oklahoma City Council Meeting.
This moving prevention video deeply touches in exaction what complicit response is, and how it enables https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P4Up0drnXX4. This nationally recognized, excellent point of discussion is easily shared, within this artfully crafted unforgettable work of @1491s, a video production company managed by Thomas Ryan Red Corn, of Pawhuska, Oklahoma. Shot in Hominy, Oklahoma, it calls many questions through everyday observations about rape, domination, domestic violence, chronic or episodic maltreatment of females. Rape culture. As a community, city, county and state. What we do or allow. What will we do or allow. What will we not do, and not allow. These are the questions faced by the Oklahoma City Council, more pointed than ever since the arrest of Daniel Holtzclaw, OKCPD officer accused.
Tuesday afternoon, shade but no shade http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Shade%20but%20No%20Shade Mayor Mick Cornett upon the advice of the Oklahoma City Attorney present at the Oklahoma City Council http://www.okc.gov/council/ meeting agreed to provide some status answers in the next few weeks to questions raised regarding the above sex assaults and the handling of sexual assaults in Oklahoma City in general.
This writer sat for approximately 5 hours, waiting to present questions and observations about the recent issues of suspected sexualized assaults by an Oklahoma City Police Department patrol officer, Daniel Holtzclaw a 3 year employee of the service.
During the course of the City Council meeting, Chief Bill Cittie gave a brief report regarding review and edit of documents related to policy, procedure and coding for the department. No mention of rape.
Councilors over some residents of the Springlake Patrol Division, John Pettis Junior ( firstname.lastname@example.org) and Patrick J. Ryan ( email@example.com) gave compliments to the Oklahoma City Police Department for detaining Holtzclaw under arrest and being held in the Oklahoma City Jail. http://www.oklahomacounty.org/SHERIFF/detentionservices/. Identified victims to date have apparently been from the ward maps of these two men.
Mayor Mick Cornett did not call for, nor was there an immediate comment from Dr. Ed Shadid (firstname.lastname@example.org) nor from Meg Salyer ( email@example.com) whose areas are also in or near the service area of Springlake. Salyer left the meeting prior to the shares or notations about systemic problems and sexualized assaults.
This writer made some attempt to introduce the following observations to the Council in the alotted 3 minutes, and there were virtually no other personal or family safety or human rights issues presented in the meeting on Tuesday, save the one below this entry.
- The sexual assault services are a forced system, victims of any age must follow whatever protocol the city gives them in order to get any services or make a report about an assault.
- Noone for 5 hours talked about the sexual assault issue for Springlake Patrol District during this OKC City Council meeting.
- Mostly it is true no new victim would show up at a City Council Meeting, so they can’t represent themselves.
- Groups who advocate sexual assault issues cannot come to meetings advocating a single question, due to funding constraints from USDOJJTP or USDOJ.
- That the OKC sexual assault services continuum is not functioning at national best practices
- Most adult victims have to deal with as many as 6 sets of people to attempt to process the sex assault complaint.
- Most child or youth victims with a parent or guardian may have to deal with as many as 9.
- Faulty services are only additional stress for the victim and accompanying loved ones.
- Problems include but are not limited to: services not delivered in a timely manner, staffing constraints by role, antiquated processes of taking reports, antiquated electronics and resources to manage reports, assignments or cross reference information in cases, low or improper staffing. Things like improper or absent training and absence of proper levels of topic focused experience and expertise and the need for proper supervision or access to an expert to problem solve would yield the best result, not delays. This kind of work would also probably reduce or eliminate permeable processes which crash cases.
- Failed processes of report cause a variety of negative things to happen for the victim or reporting parties.
- OKC has a fairly low rate of attempted prosecution of sex assaults and lower rate still of successful prosecution of sexual assault.
- In social work, critical pathways are attended. http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/101/4/461.full/Critical-Pathways-A-Review In social work, it is called “the first door is the right door”. In that, when a person presents in need, the person to whom they present is responsible for helping them find the resource for solving the problem. With the issue of sexual assault as above, the person may have to go through as many as 9 groups to merely have completed an investigative process. With the issue of police, they have sole functions, this does not include case management, or response to reasonable logical questions or needs which occur immediately or longterm after an assault.
- That the OKC sexual assault services have a variety of fatal flaws which are known to people who are in the service groups, but USDOJ or USDOJJTP funding does not allow interface about the problems.
- Oklahoma City Councilors are not allowed to address some problems presented by constituents, given the limitations of their jobs so things like problems with the vast nature of those involved in sexual assault response, which may cross city, county, state and federal and non-profit lines. Issues which may be noted to City Councilors by their staff or constituents don’t necessarily have a critical path, or point person in that system of response. (.i.e. they can’t help the public, really). But the fact the service of sexual assault response is splayed over multiple groups is also an issue, as those groups are guided by policy, law, custom, clause and MOU ( memorandum of understandings http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memorandum_of_understanding ) which may or may not be visible or accessible among groups, or outside the agency delivering the service, or participating in an investigation.
- Funding for any one group may be disrupted or removed if the USDOJ rules are broken.
- The OKCPD officer, Mr. Holtzclaw appears to have a drooping left eye, in all produced photographs accompanying news for years? If this person is medically unwell, or has TBI from his extensive devotion to football, who has a daily job of fitness for duty to assess this. Had he been medically tended, would this all have been prevented?
- The process of sexual assault handling is under scrutiny nationwide, and for 30 years appears to have some specific glitches. Even if the college rape MOU proceeds, if OKC is not clear about existing laws and clauses those may hold the response in archaic spaces.
- Clearly, Chief Cittie has asked repeatedly over multiple environments, for more staff, more resources and more training for all departments to improve their response, and this has been refused for at least the last 12 years. Growth of the city has surely outpaced the police department needs, on all fronts, including things like coding or electronic functions like computers, communications and programs to enter and cross process data for best service results.
- The Oklahoma City Care Center, child forensics program, was placed on probation in 2006-2007 after a finding against them by their governing body the National Alliance for Children. Despite alerts to this fact, and why the City, who ultimately controls this forced service is not, has not and cannot guarantee product purity for it’s littlest citizens at least known since 2006 is unknown. The Care Center staff were not investigated nor prosecuted.
- There is no clear process for the public to refuse these forced services.
- There is no clear process for the public to report these poor quality services.
- There is no clear process for the public to get better services.
- Critical pathways must be better understood, for all parties involved, but surely groups must be able to reflect upon what is happening, and be able to seek audit for best practices and best performances from these services for our citizens
Mayor Mick Cornett noted that the City Attorney http://www.okc.gov/counselor/ will research and prepare a response to the City Council. No date was given for this document.
The problem with the above, is that if there is not a process for this issue to be handled with more care, and more accountability and more best practices focused principles, really any other actions will be merely cogs and wheels. One gentleman prior to this writer speaking presented an issue of a city water main breaking up hill to his home, and that the water traveled across the other resident’s property to his, leaving 6″ of standing water.
The man came to complain that his property and home were put at risk by the break, and the city attorney over this issue addressed that the policy guiding the subject is the city has no liability if the consumer does not identify in advance that this pipe is defective or somehow leaking. And that was the end of the discussion.
This rule is not reasonable, and there was no discussion amongst council members that this was so. With issues like fracking and earthquakes, freezing and baking temperatures… and rotting infrastructure in many areas, this leaves a liability to the customer or neighbor of the customer.
Having observed this above interaction, just prior to the chance to speak, this writer reiterated before departing on the sexual assault issue, that what needs to be clarified is what the rules are in place, what is the critical pathway for systems.
And the Council needs to understand that each of the as many as 9 groups have differing critical paths and trajectories of interest or responsibility. NONE of those 9 includes this writer in this conversation about the OKC sexual assaults. What each Councilor needs to take away or understand about critical pathways may be more unique for some areas, over others, given the high rates of violent crime and increased reports in rape in Oklahoma.
If you have questions, comments or concerns about the Oklahoma City Sexual Assault services continuum, please contact City Council Representatives directly. http://www.okc.gov/council/