The groundbreaking for a public inebriate facility could happen as soon as January, Mayor G.T. Bynum said Tuesday.
Bynum, speaking during a meeting of the Mayor’s Police and Community Coalition at City Hall, said 12 & 12 Inc., a nonprofit agency, has raised private funds to build space for the Public Inebriate Alternative facility near 41st Street and Interstate 44.
Deputy Police Chief Jonathan Brooks said the facility will be able to hold 25 men and about a dozen women for 10 hours at a time.
Brooks said police are looking into upgrading the facility in the future to serve as a medical detox center instead of only offering treatment for alcohol consumption. He noted legislative changes to drug laws and what he termed a “proliferation” of substance abuse.
The Public Inebriate Alternative will allow officers the ability to offer publicly drunk people the choice to go sleep it off rather than be booked into jail and potentially end up with a permanent criminal blotch on their records. That doesn’t include DUIs.
Bynum also discussed with the coalition progress the city has made implementing the 77 recommendations from the Community Policing Task Force, which studied the concept for about two months.
He said a group meets with him weekly to chart the progression. So far, he said, 51 percent of the recommendations are fully implemented, while the other 49 percent are working toward that status.
“Our goal is to have 100 percent completion by the end of this fiscal year” on June 30, Bynum said. “I was hoping for this calendar year, but it’s more important to do it right.”
The public dashboard that lists the recommendations and monitors the progress of each can be accessed on the city of Tulsa’s website.
Bynum described the city’s roll-out of community policing as the antithesis of fixing a street. He said that once a street is installed, ideally the project is done. But community policing is “a strategy you will always use,” he said.
“I think it will be one of the model programs in the nation,” the mayor said.