Residents honor OKC Chief Bill Citty
Residents and community leaders gathered for a Saturday breakfast in northwest Oklahoma City to honor longtime Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty, who is set to retire next month after 15 years leading the police department.
“On behalf of all the neighborhoods in the city of Oklahoma City, we thought appropriate to give him a globe because he is a worldwide leader in our eyes,” said Georgie Rasco, executive director of the Neighborhood Alliance of Central Oklahoma. “We are a better city because of you.”
Citty thanked members of the alliance and residents in attendance for giving their time in working to better their communities.
“The hardest thing to do is to give up your time and of yourself and caring for your neighbors,” Citty said. “Police, we don’t solve crime. As a homicide detective I never solved a single crime, but somebody in the community did. All I did was put it together. You are the ones that make the difference, you are the ones that solve the crimes, you are the ones that make our community tick.”
Citty recalled a recent conversation where he was asked what his passion was, responding it was the people.
“Because that’s who we serve. We serve each one of you,” he said.
“I’ve seen you clean up your neighborhoods with gang activity. You don’t have guns, you don’t even have big sticks, but you’ve got each other and you come together and you say, ‘we’re not going to tolerate it,’” Citty said.
Several people attending the Mayor’s Neighborhood Leadership Breakfast, held at Oklahoma City University’s Meinders School of Business, addressed Citty directly, thanking him for the work he’s done in and outside the police department for decades.
A woman said that while she didn’t speak directly for Oklahoma City’s LGBTQ community, she thanked Citty for the time he has spent protecting them, for his open-mindedness and for his caring nature.
Others referred to Citty as the city’s “renaissance police chief” and their first friend in law enforcement after years of distrust of police.
Willard Linzy, a resident of the John F. Kennedy neighborhood, said he wanted to highlight some of the things that didn’t happen under Citty.
“We didn’t have a Ferguson, Missouri. I want you to understand what that means,” Linzy said. “It was because there was a Bill Citty that gave a different culture. He set a different tone. I can remember when officers didn’t treat citizens very well in different parts of the city.”
Linzy said often times great leaders are made.
“But they also say great leaders are born. I think this is one of those cases,” he said.