Cameron University invites community members to Community/Police forum

The Cameron University Department of Social Sciences will present “Building Relationships between the Community and their Police,” a community forum where community members and law enforcement officials will address pressing issues of concern to both constituencies. The forum takes place on Thursday, November 17 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Shepler Ballroom and is open to the public. Community participation is encouraged.

“Building Relationships between the Community and their Police” will consist of community leaders and professionals in the criminal justice field. The conversations are expected to be candid; thus, the panel may discuss the root causes regarding the deterioration of the relationship between the community and their police.  Each member of the panel will share experiences and the proactive initiatives they have pursued to help mend that relationship.

The panel will feature four Cameron alumni: James Apple, Assistant Chief, Lawton Police Department;

Ron Bartmier, President, Oklahoma State Fraternal Order of Police; Bishop John Dunaway, founder, Abundant Life Ministries of Lawton; and Councilwoman Gay McGahee, Lawton Ward 7 Representative.

Apple began his venture in the early 1970s with the Lawton Police Department as a Police Explorer, a program that sparked his true interest in law enforcement and which has led to a career with LPD. He joined the department in January 1980. During his 35+ years with the department, he has been assigned to the Uniform Division as a patrolman and a Field Training Officer. He also served as a traffic officer and a member of the Traffic Action Program. In 1988 he transferred to the Education & Training Division where he served as a CLEET-certified academy instructor and a Crime Prevention Officer. Apple was instrumental in the beginning of the department's D.A.R.E. program and became nationally certified as a D.A.R.E. Mentor. He has served as a Watch Commander, Director of the department's Federal Highway Safety and Project Under 21 (Too Much to Lose) Programs, Fleet Supervisor, the Uniform Division's Supply Officer, and the K-9 Unit Supervisor. As the Uniform Division Commander, he oversaw the Uniform Division including the department's Gang Unit and the department's Tactical Team. He was promoted to Assistant Chief in January 2010. In this role, he assists in the planning, coordination, supervision and evaluation of LPD operations and is responsible for the annual department budget and oversees the grant programs. He is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

A retired member of the Tulsa Police Department, Bartmier is serving his 13th year as President of the Oklahoma State Fraternal Order of Police.  In that capacity, he represents over 6,000 law enforcement officers in Oklahoma in labor and legislative issues.  He also serves with the Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police as a member of the Labor Committee. Bartmier worked as an officer with the Tulsa Police Department for more than 34 years. During his tenure, he was a member of the Special Operations Team (SWAT) for 20 years and a member of the Honor Guard for 20 years.  He served in many different units but particularly loved working as an officer in the Patrol Unit.

Dunaway is a 20-year Army combat veteran and a recipient of the Bronze Star, the Meritorious Service Medal, and various other combat and peacetime medals. He has been a member of the Lawton/Fort Sill community since 1978. In addition to his military service, Dunaway has served the Lawton community as a teacher in Lawton Public Schools. He is a member of the Cameron University staff, serving as a postsecondary advisor to local students in the Talent Search/Open Doors program, which helps low income students become the first in their families to graduate from college. Dunaway is a consecrated Bishop and the founder of Abundant Life Ministries of Lawton, Inc. and the Abundant Life International Fellowship of Churches, Inc. He also provides oversight to the Feed My Sheep Ministries and the Daughters of Sarah Ministries. Bishop Dunaway is the President of the Lawton-Fort Sill Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and a Board of Directors Member of the One Church One Child of Oklahoma. He serves as pastor of the Abundant Life Christian Church. In addition, he has worked as a Correctional Officer and Case Manager for GEO prisons and is a badged Police Chaplain. He is a member of The Next Step Program, which assists young adults who have grown out of the foster care system in finding good jobs and homes. He serves on The Gang Task Force Steering Committee, which is a coalition of faith based organizations, law enforcement, and other community groups. He has also served on the Juneteenth Committee, the Back To School Committee and is a member of the NAACP.

McGahee was appointed as City of Lawton, Ward 7 Councilperson in October 2015 and elected in April 2016. She has been the Office Manager for Galilee Missionary Baptist Church for more than 25 years and is a counselor for Comanche Nation Family Assistance Center where she works with women and children who are victims of domestic violence.  McGahee has served on the City Planning Commission and the Mayor's Commission on the Status of Women.  She serves as an Ally/Mentor for Salvation Army Bridges Out of Poverty, Galilee MBC General Missionary Society President, Galilee MBC Ambassadors for Christ Drill Team Matron, as well as member of many other community service committees. 

“Building Relationships between the Community and their Police” is the first presentation of CU’s Justice For All speaker series. The forum is sponsored by the Department of Social Sciences and the School of Graduate and Professional Studies and is made possible by the GEO Group Endowed Lectureship in Criminal Justice and Sociology. 

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PR 16-174

November 7, 2016