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Bill Citty - New Challenges

Value Added: The dramatic rise in mass shootings, many related to the convergence of mental illness and guns, creates challenges in law enforcement.
Bill Citty - New Challenges

Bill Citty - New Challenges

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OKC Police Department

Oklahoma CLEET


Show Details

Show 1713: Bill Citty - New Challenges
Air Date: March 26, 2017



Rob McClendon: In recent years, we’ve seen a dramatic rise in the number of mass shootings, many that can be directly traced to the convergence of guns and the mentally ill. As we conclude our conversation, OKC Police Chief Bill Citty talks about some of the new challenges that law enforcement face.

Rob: We have a tremendous amount of untreated mental illness here in the state. How much of an impact does it have on your department?

Bill Citty: Well, the impact is becoming greater and greater. Mental health, our mental health calls has probably more than doubled, you know, just over a three- to five-year period. There’s a high percent of persons using drugs that are self-medicating as a result of mental health issues. So, you know, that’s the kind, those are the kind of things that officers are called to – people in crisis, whether it’s a mental health crisis, a person on drugs or a combination of the two and tough, tough situations for officers to handle. You know, the one thing I think that’s misunderstood about that though is that in most of those cases, those individuals aren’t violent. You know, it’s basically they’re, they just are out of control, not really a threat to themselves or anybody else, but it’s a problem. It’s something a parent can’t deal with or somebody just, you know, who can’t function well, but aren’t really violent. There are some that are that we have to deal with, but a very small portion of those. So it has a huge impact on this police department, on the city and the community as a whole of not dealing with it.

Rob: When you started out in law enforcement, did you ever envision that you would have to focus on everything from shooters in schools to domestic terrorism?

Citty: Yeah, if I knew over the years what I had to deal with, I might have taken a different road in some ways because it would be overwhelming to you because it does change. The issues become, in many ways, harder to deal with. Now, you don’t really think about, you don’t really think that you’re gonna have and start dealing with shooters that do mass killings with children. I mean, that’s, growing up and even joining the police department, you know, when Sirloin Stockade happened, and we lost a number of employees, it was shocking because you just didn’t see that. And so, for somebody to go into a school and for no reason and take the lives of innocent kids is, you know, just unfathomable. So, no, you can’t, I really never anticipated that in law enforcement, you know. So it’s, but it’s changed, and we have to be prepared to change with it.

Rob: Now, I do have much more from Chief Citty streaming on our website. There he talks about the growth of paramilitary style policing in some departments and why it has both pros and cons. And we’ll also talk about how changes in attitudes about marijuana have put pressures on recruitment and how his department is trying to keep up with the times. To see those, just head over to and click on our value added section.