An Oklahoma Senate bill would change the appeal process for certain terminated police officers.
This comes after an incident last year in which an Owasso police officer was reinstated through arbitration proceedings after being fired for using excessive force.
Senator Brian Crain introduced the bill, which passed unanimously in committee.
“If you are terminated following the due process outlines that a municipality has under the collective bargaining agreement,” he said, “for excessive use of force, arbitration is not the avenue for appeal, it is district court.”
In the Owasso case, the City of Owasso appealed the arbitration panel’s decision to reinstate the officer in district court. That court upheld the termination.
Crain says that since introducing the bill, he has heard from other area police chiefs who say excessive force shouldn’t be the only instance in which a terminated officer should have to appeal to district court instead of through arbitration.
He is currently considering amending the bill to include termination for instances other than excessive force.
“This is making sure the officer who responds to your burglary call,” he said, “that you don’t have to worry about, are they going to be more violent than the potential criminal you were worried about.”