The Norman Transcript

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May 4, 2013

Sixty police meet for summit

NORMAN — Sixty police chiefs and administrators from 26 cities and 14 states are scheduled to attend the 2013 Benchmark Cities Summit Sunday through Tuesday.

Hosts include the Broken Arrow, Edmond and Norman police departments.

Initially developed in 1996 by John Douglass, chief of police in Overland Park, Kansas, the original group of 13 benchmark cities has grown into a coalition of 26. 

In the beginning, Chief Douglass surmised that cities in competition with Overland Park shared comparable demographics, crime rates and other information.

He envisioned the chiefs of police from these cities at a round table to discuss successes and failures, department structure, what initiatives were working for them and what was not. The goal was to help each agency improve the overall delivery of police services to their citizens.

Chief Douglass contacted the chiefs of police in each of the identified cities and asked if they would be interested in completing a survey based on crime, traffic, department organization and administration.

To his surprise, the extensive survey was completed by almost every agency. Later, the chiefs who responded to that first survey met in Overland Park for a summit to discuss the survey results.

Although some of the original cities withdrew because they discovered too many dissimilarities with the core cities, 13 of the original cities remain.

Additionally, 16 cities have since joined, and the survey has expanded to cover even more topics. The group meets annually in different cities for the original purpose — improving the quality of police services.

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