Sand Springs Police Chief Mike Carter was selected as our Sandite of the Week for his eagerness to involve the police department in the community and his efforts to build a highly-trained and effective police force.
Last week, local business owner Joni Sporleder posted in a Sand Springs Facebook group with an idea to have an Independence Day parade downtown. Because it was too late to secure the necessary permits to block off a City street, Chief Carter organized a parade around the Clyde Boyd Walking Trail. SSPD officers manned their bikes and led more than a hundred citizens around the trail on everything from bikes and wagons to horses. After the parade, the department handed out free popsicles and awarded new skateboards to children with the most decorative bicycles and outfits.
Also last week, Carter presented the new 2017 Policing Plan to City Council, who in turn voted unanimously to approve the document. The 24-page plan identifies policies designed to build trust, engage the community, reduce crime, increase officer training and education and to promote safety.
SEE RELATED: City of Sand Springs adopts new 2017 Policing Plan
Under Carter's leadership the department has made moves to increase the number of warnings and reduce the number of fines issued during traffic stops. Officers have been issued business cards with their name and badge number. A department Facebook page has been created to directly engage with the community, creating dialogue, and informing citizens about ongoing crime problems, trends, and investigations.
Officers are all trained in Fair and Impartial Policing, which centers on the belief that all people have some implicit bias. The SSPD became the first department in the State to formalize an agreement with the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to allow the OSBI to conduct any and all investigations into officer-involved shootings resulting in injury or death, as well as in-custody deaths.
The department recently launched the "Pop With a Cop" program where officers and City officials hold monthly meetings in each of the City's Wards to meet with citizens and discuss police policy and city issues.
Last year the department held its first-ever "Food for Fines" program, allowing citizens to pay off up to $200 in fines with non-perishable food donations to Sand Springs Community Services.
Carter was promoted to Chief of Police in May of 2015 following an eleven-year stent as Deputy Chief. His promotion came on the heels of former twenty-year Chief Daniel Bradley's hiring as Assistant City Manager.
Prior to his appointment as Deputy Chief, Carter worked in Crisis Negotiation on the Sand Springs SWAT team. He holds a Bachelor's degree from Northeastern State University, graduated from the FBI National Academy, and completed the Police Executive Development and Leadership Curriculum at the University of Tulsa.
Carter has been with the department since 1993 and is a recipient of the Medal of Valor, two Life Saving Awards, the American Red Cross Everyday Hero award, the City of Sand Springs Employee of the Year award, the Sand Springs Police Department Officer of the Year award, and the Sand Springs Rotary Club Police Officer of the Year award.