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Police Chief Wendell Franklin announces retirement

Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin
(Tulsa Police Chief Wendell Franklin speaks at TPD Academy Class 127's graduation ceremony on Friday, April 12, 2024)

Tulsa Police Department Chief Wendell Franklin announced Wednesday he'll be retiring from his role in the department effective July 31.

Franklin served as Chief of Police since 2020 and spent more than 27 years on the department.

The following letter can be attributed to Franklin and was released following his announcement to the department about his retirement plans:

"Tulsa is an amazing city with the most professional police department in America. I joined over 27 years ago because of the professionalism and high education requirements. I have had a great career which has added a sense of fulfillment to my life and I hope made Tulsa better. In Stephen Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”, he laments, “Begin with the end in mind.” During the interview process for Chief, I provided Mayor Bynum with my plan for TPD and after being selected, I often referred to the plan to keep me focused.

I knew I needed a great team to support new initiatives. So many employees in the police department and across the City of Tulsa immediately stepped up to help. I’m forever indebted to those who carried a tremendous load to make Tulsa Police better. I’m so proud of the members of the Tulsa community, who welcomed me with open arms and rolled up their sleeves to work alongside me. Business leaders in Tulsa mentored me and taught me leadership skills, which helped me become a better leader and a better man.

The previous four years have been challenging for Tulsa. Life-altering events such as the loss of Miracle and Tony Crook, a global pandemic, civil unrest, two presidential visits, Sgt. Craig Johnson’s murder, Ofc. Aurash Zarkeshan’s attempted murder, the Tulsa Race Massacre centennial, heated elections, a ransomware attack, the shootings at St. Francis, and the derecho weather event in 2023 made us stronger but also made many reevaluate life’s priorities.

I recently reviewed my original plan with Mayor Bynum and, despite all of these difficult situations and tragic events, we have achieved most of what we sought to achieve. The fulfillment of so many goals create a perfect opportunity to select the next Tulsa Police Chief.

Tulsa has a resilient department full of educated leaders and we have made incredible strides in a very short time. This is why I can rest easy announcing my retirement from the Tulsa Police Department. My last day will be July 31st.

I will remain in the Tulsa area, working for BOK Financial as the director of corporate security. The new role is a perfect fit for me. BOK Financial’s work culture is unmatched in the industry, and its presence in multiple markets will keep me busy. I was not actively searching for a new role; it found me. I know it is the right time for me to pass the responsibility and honor of serving as Tulsa’s Police Chief to another leader.

I look forward to continuing amplifying our great city in a new way and a new role.

Thank you, Tulsa."

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