Tulsa::Crime Category

The Tulsa Police Department is looking for Tawny Sheppard, age 21, date of birth December 19, 1991, 5'3" tall, weight 135. According to the news release, "Tawny is homeless and was last seen around the Tulsa Select Hotel at 5100 S. Yale. She is also known to be around the 61st and Peoria area. She has not been heard from or seen since."

The Tulsa Police Department case number is 2013-012076. Anyone that has information about Sheppard is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS or text TIP918 to CRIMES. Text STOP to 274637 to cancel. Text HELP to 274637 for help. Msg&Data Rates May Apply.

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The release was sent at 3:29 p.m., but it did not specify the date or time when Sheppard was last seen. A reply email to the sender (TPD_News@cityoftulsa.org) requesting clarification was returned as undeliverable.

BatesLine will update this entry with the latest information about the case as it becomes available. As of this writing, nothing has been posted on the Tulsa Police Department Twitter account, official Facebook page, or website news page.

MORE: My blog entry on how a law enforcement agency searching for a missing person can make better use of the internet.

Earlier tonight (January 10, 2013), a friend posted a photo of a boy on Facebook, surrounded by a yellow and black striped border made to look like police crime scene tape, and overlaid with the following text (phone numbers redacted):

Have you seen me? My name is Micheal Kanada I am from Okmulgee. I was wearing a Black polo shirt, khaki pants & black backpack yesterday & was last seen around OSU-IT Campus about 6PM. If you saw him or might know where he is Please, Please call 918-xxx-xxxx, 918-xxx-xxxx, or 918-xxx-xxxx... Share this to spread the word!

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The first phone number appears to be for the Okmulgee Police Department; the other two may be private numbers.

What set off alarm bells for me was the word "yesterday" with no mention of a specific date. It's the stuff of urban legends. A real crisis situation exists, an email is sent with vague or missing information about dates and places and no place to find up to date info, and people, moved by the crisis, forward it on without verifying whether the situation is true and whether it has been resolved.

(For example, a nine-year-old cancer patient named Craig Shergold wanted to set the Guinness record for greeting cards received. He did -- 16 million. That was back in 1989, but the appeal kept circulating and the cards kept coming, climbing to 350 million. Shergold was successfully treated with surgery in the US in 1991 and is now 33 years old. Read this article on Snopes to see how the ongoing circulation of this appeal and similar ones can cause real problems for the people we hope to help.)

The correct response to an appeal for help lacking key details is to do a web search for more information. Is it a hoax? Is it outdated? Or is it a current crisis? But that strategy only works if there is reliable, updated information that is tagged to be easily found by a search engine's web crawlers. That's an area where law enforcement and others involved in a crisis could do a far better job with some smart use of their existing web capability.

My attempt to find out when "Micheal Kanada" went missing was thwarted by the misspelling on the photo. Only copies of the same appeal turned up. But the fact that Google auto-suggested Okmulgee as I typed his name indicates that I wasn't the only one looking for information.

I thought to try the standard spelling for Michael and found an undated story by the Henryettan about the boys' recovery:

Missing boys found in Henryetta

Two Okmulgee teenagers reported missing earlier this week were found Wednesday morning in Henryetta, cold and tired.

The pair, Michael Austin Kanada, 13, and Dayleimion Bryan Sorrell, 14, were found near Frisco and Bollinger around 8 a.m.

A phone call alerted Henryetta police that two youths wrapped up in sheets and blankets matching their description were seen along the roadway. When police arrived, they detained the youngsters until Okmulgee County sheriff department personnel could arrive.

Both boys were said to be health despite going missing for over a day. They told authorities they walked from Okmulgee to Henryetta.

Saying "Wednesday morning" isn't even sufficient for print, much less the web. Yes, on the printed page there's a date at the top, but an article could be cut from the paper, scanned, and circulated. There's no date on the web version of the story, either. So who can tell when all this occurred.

This is why I always include the full date when I post about upcoming events, even though it must often seem superfluous to readers. Otherwise someone is going to reach that archived page via a search engine and think that "tonight" (which was really back in June 2007) is tonight in January 2013. There's also a date stamp on each blog entry.

I also found a tweet on October 9, 2012 at 3:44 pm from the Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office about the search for two boys who had gone missing:

The Okmulgee County Sheriff's Office is attempting to locate Michael Austin Kanada and Dayleimion Bryan Sorrell...

The tweet included a link to a Facebook post which has since been deleted.

I went directly to the Okmulgee County Sheriff Office's Twitter account (@OkmulgeeSO), scrolled back a ways to October, and found this tweet from October 10 at 8:08 a.m.:

The two Runaway boys have been located and are in custody at this time. Let everyone know they are okay. Thank...

That tweet led to a slightly more complete Facebook post:

The two Runaway boys have been located and are in custody at this time. Let everyone know they are okay. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. God Bless

Do you see the problem? The tweet and Facebook post that announces the boys' disappearance included their names, but the tweet and Facebook post announcing their recovery did not mention the boys' names. Anyone searching for information will read an official source telling them about the disappearance, but they won't find the info that says they were found and are safe.

I wonder how many phone calls the three phone numbers have had since Michael was found. I imagine he is seen at school, around his neighborhood, and around town all the time, and at least once in the while, I expect he is spotted by someone who just saw this photo posted by a friend on Facebook.

What could have been done better? What should be done next time?

Here are a few recommendations for law enforcement agencies and other interested parties to get the most out of the web:

1. If local law enforcement is looking for someone, whether a missing child, a nursing home resident gone astray, or a fugitive criminal, they should post an entry on the blog on their official website. This is going to be the official location for complete information on the subject of the search and its status, including any clues or details being released to the public. Let's call this the authoritative blog entry. It's crucial that there should be a permanent, unique web address that points to the official info in the case.

2. The title of the authoritative blog entry should include the names of the persons being sought.

3. The tags of the authoritative blog entry should include the full name of each subject, nicknames, and any misspellings that may be circulating. The entry should also be tagged with the name of the city and state and similar specific information.

4. The authoritative blog entry body should include the complete date (month, day, and year) of key events and full address information (block, street, city and state) of key places. An alert like the photo of "Micheal Kanada" may circulate for years and may circle the globe as it's passed around via email and social media.

In this case at least, a person could deduce location from the phone number and the relative uniqueness of the name Okmulgee. Imagine an appeal for a missing person from Miami or Springfield (no state) with seven digit phone numbers (no area code).

5. Any updates about the search should go in that authoritative blog entry, with the most recent status and the date and time of that status at the top of the entry, highlighted to catch the reader's attention. For example: "UPDATE October 10, 2012, 8:18 a.m.: Michael Austin Kanada and Dayleimion Bryan Sorrell have been found in Henryetta. They are fine and are in care of the Okmulgee County Sheriff's Department. Original post follows."

6. When there's a major development in the case, post a new blog entry to catch the attention of someone visiting the department's blog, following the above rules about titles, tags, specific dates, and places, but be sure to include a link back to the authoritative blog entry. At the same time, edit the authoritative blog entry to include a summary of the new development. (See 5 above.)

7. Add an easy-to-hear, easy-to-remember, and easy-to-type URL that will redirect to the authoritative blog entry. (It's called a "301 redirect," and any webmaster worth his salt will know how to set one up.) You want something that could be repeated over the phone, over the radio, on TV, and then easily typed by someone into a smartphone. Add additional redirect URLs with likely misspellings and point them to the same page.

8. When you send a press release to the media about the case, urge them to link to the authoritative blog entry and print or read on-air the easy-to-type URL.

9. Any Facebook statuses or Twitter tweets about the topic should link back to the authoritative blog entry. Encourage your fans and followers to do the same.

You can follow the same steps even if you aren't a law enforcement official. While the information will carry more weight if it's on an official website, you can create your own authoritative blog entry if the local LEOs won't or don't know how to do it. If you don't already have a blog, you can create one for free in a few minutes at www.blogger.com or www.wordpress.com.

And if you're making a heart-tugging photo to circulate on social media, include specific dates, specific places, and that easy-to-type URL to connect to the authoritative blog entry, so the curious can confirm that the case is still open before forwarding it to their friends.

When a child goes missing, search engine optimization and web server configuration are not going to be at the top of your mind. But a few simple steps can help the World Wide Web help you accomplish your search, can keep everyone informed as the search reaches the hoped-for happy conclusion, and can reduce unnecessary anxiety and concerned queries long after happily every after.

A news release this morning from the Tulsa Police Department announces the apprehension of a suspect in a car burglary in the Owen Park neighborhood:

Burglary from Vehicle Suspect Apprehended

At about 1:49 AM, officers were dispatched to an auto theft in progress at 302 N. Santa Fe Ave. Upon arrival, Sgt. Brown noticed a white male searching through the vehicle. When the male, later identified as Kyle Stromme saw Sgt. Brown, he fled north through the back yard.

Officer Butterfield deployed his K9 partner, Hooch, and conducted a track. Butterfield and Hooch also conducted a search of the abandoned house at 306 N. Santa Fe Ave. It was here that K9 Hooch was able to locate and apprehend Stromme, who was hiding under a mattress in the back sun porch. Stromme received a bite and was treated by EMSA at the scene. Stromme was later booked by for two counts of burglary from a vehicle and resisting Officers.

*Note: The information in this report is preliminary information and is subject to change as the investigation continues.

Tulsans know Whitey Bulger as the man allegedly behind the 1981 murder of Roger Wheeler at Southern Hills Country Club. In the traditional Irish neighborhood of South Boston, the Bulger family is well known, but Whitey's reputation is not as black-and-white. Whitey's younger brother Billy Bulger (dubbed the Corrupt Midget by columnist Howie Carr) served many years as the President of the Massachusetts Senate and, after retiring from the legislature, as President of the University of Massachusetts. Check out this fascinating Boston Globe video report getting reactions to Whitey Bulger's arrest from his erstwhile neighbors.

"He was a mobstah, but so what? Everybody's got a occupation.... He nevah bothahed me 'n' my family, so...."

MORE: Howie Carr interviewed by Boston TV about Whitey's capture and Carr's column on Whitey's capture, in which he connects the dots between Whitey's successful (allegedly) criminal career and the government officials who enabled him (including his brother, who, according to Carr, got him a no show government job and used connections to help Whitey become an FBI informant). Howie Carr has written a book on the Boston underworld, called Boston Hitman, and the book's website has a catalog of key figures -- Whitey's associates, protectors, victims, and rivals.

If you're on the home page, click the link to see the video:

In case you missed it, here is the Tulsa Police Department's statement from Wednesday concerning Tuesday's incident at 21st and Yale, involving a fatal carjacking attempt, a second carjacking, and pursuit ending in the death of one of the perpetrators.

It was close enough to us that my son, inside the house, thought he heard someone setting off firecrackers.

By the way, KRMG's text messaging service (text NEWS to 95920) let me know that shots were being fired and a pursuit was underway near my house, so that I could call my family and tell them to stay indoors and away from windows.

On May 31, 2011 at approximately 10:00 AM, two suspects committed a home invasion in Prue which is located in Osage County. The victims were approached by two white males dressed as linesmen. The two suspects produced firearms and ordered the two victims into the residence. While in the residence both victims were tied up and items were taken from the house. The suspects then loaded a large number of firearms into victim's white 1999 GMC safari van bearing Oklahoma 612-FLT. One suspect identified as Billy Joe Hammons loaded one of the victims from the home invasion and drove to Tulsa. During this time a second victim from the home invasion was able to free himself and called police and notified them of the crime and that the suspect and kidnapping victim were heading to 2246 S. Oswego in Tulsa. Tulsa Police Officers were dispatched to an enroute to harm call at the residence.

At approximately 12:30 PM, Officer D. Cole arrived at the location and immediately observed the suspect and kidnapping victim exiting the residence. Upon seeing the officer, Billy Hamons fired at Officer Cole striking his police vehicle. The suspect then forced the kidnapping victim back into the truck and led officers on a pursuit that stopped at the Neighborhood Wal-Mart located at 2100 South Yale Ave. The suspect fled into the Wal-Mart where he fired additional shots. The suspect then fled the Wal-Mart on foot towards the Panda Express located on the Northeast corner of 2100 South Yale Ave. The suspect ran through the Panda Express still armed with a firearm. The suspect exited the Panda Express and attempted to car jack a couple who were driving west on East 21st Street. The suspect fired a shot into the vehicle killing the male driver. The suspect then car jacked a truck occupied by four people. The suspect drove south on Yale Ave. while firing shots at the pursuing officers. As officers returned fire the suspect struck a utility pole located at 22nd Place and South Yale. After a lengthy standoff, SOT officers approached the vehicle and found the suspect dead. At this time it is not known whether Billy Hammons was killed by officers or a self inflicted gunshot wound.

The suspect has been identified as Billy Joe Hammons W/M 04-07-80.

The homicide victim has been identified as Sufeng He male DOB: 04-01-1987

Billy Hammons is currently suspected to be involved in several armed robberies in and around Tulsa including robberies where the suspects identified themselves as Tulsa Police Officers. The investigation is ongoing at this time. No audio or video of this incident will be released due to the ongoing criminal and internal investigation.

Seven officers have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

The second suspect is still outstanding as well as victims white 99 GMC safari van bearing OK tag 612-FLT. Any person with information about the identity of the second suspect is ecouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 918.596.COPS.

From the Friday, December 10, 2010, Wall Street Journal:

A federal investigation into the Tulsa Police Department that began nearly two years ago has unearthed a flood of corruption allegations.

Federal prosecutors allege that a handful of veteran officers, aided by a federal agent, fabricated informants, planted evidence, stole drugs and cash from criminal suspects, coerced perjured testimony, intimidated witnesses and trafficked in cocaine and methamphetamine.

Two former officers are cooperating with prosecutors in exchange for immunity. Another former officer has pleaded guilty to stealing money from an individual he thought was a drug dealer, but who was really an undercover federal agent. A different federal agent, who worked for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in Tulsa, has pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy.

Four additional officers and one retired officer are under indictment on multiple charges including depriving suspects of their civil rights and distributing drugs. Trials are set for January. All five men deny wrongdoing.

The story covers the case of Bobby Wayne Haley, Sr., who was convicted of drug crimes based on false testimony, and it outlines Chief Chuck Jordan's new policies on the use of informants. The story also reminds that Tulsa property owners are on the hook from any lawsuits brought by those wrongly accused or convicted:

Mr. Haley, 56, has sued the city of Tulsa for damages. Bracing for a wave of similar lawsuits, the city is setting aside $900,000 to hire outside counsel.

If the city is found liable for failing to supervise its police officers, Tulsa taxpayers will be on the hook. Oklahoma law requires cities to raise property taxes to cover legal judgments.

Seems to me that the police chiefs who were supposed to be keeping an eye on the department and the mayors who hired them ought to be personally on the hook for a share of the damages. At the very least, they ought to bear a share of the blame.

The investigative report commissioned by the Tulsa City Council regarding Mayor Dewey F. Bartlett Jr. and Chief of Staff Terry Simonson is now online at the tulsacouncil.org website. The investigation concerned statements made by Bartlett Jr and Simonson regarding a particular Federal grant (JAG) that might be used to prevent or reduce the number of police layoffs. The Council forwarded the report to the city prosecutor without recommending for or against prosecution for the misdemeanor of making false statements to the City Council.

I have skimmed the report. I don't know if or when I'll have time to read and analyze this 90-page report in depth. From what I read, my sense is that the new administration was wrestling with the complex terms and conditions of this Federal program to ensure that Tulsa would not be penalized for applying the funds in violation of Federal law.

Compliance with Federal regs is a big deal. Recall that Tulsa was penalized to the tune of $1.5 million in 2008 by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for the city's failure to supervise Tulsa Development Authority's use of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds and scolded again by HUD in 2009. In 2004 the U. S. Department of Transportation's Inspector General labeled the plan to use passenger service fees to cover, indirectly, the default of Great Plains Airlines as a "misuse of airport funds". In a separate report, the DOT OIG also "found instances where the Tulsa Airport Authority's procurements of professional services, which were funded by the Airport Improvement Program, did not adhere to FAA's required competitive-selection procedures... conflicts of interest on the part of former authority officials, poor recordkeeping by the authority."

Thinking about this in moral, rather than legal, terms (because I haven't studied the specific terms of the JAG grant): If the purpose of a Federal grant is to increase the number of police officers, taking the grant and leaving the TPD headcount the same would amount to diverting the grant to fund other city departments, since money is fungible. It would make sense for the Federal grant to come with certain conditions to prevent that sort of misuse.

Deliberate deception by one branch of government of another is a serious matter and ought to result in some sort of penalty. I'm not convinced that that is what occurred in this case, although I am open to persuasion based on the facts presented in this report.

Lest anyone think I'm being spun by the Mayor's office or regurgitating their talking points, it should be obvious to long-time BatesLine readers that there's no love lost between me and the Bartlett Jr Administration. I've not been contacted by anyone in the Mayor's Office since Bartlett Jr's inauguration nor have I made any effort to contact anyone in the administration.

The Tulsa Police Department could be making better use of the internet and social media tools to communicate with the public, particularly in emergency situations. TPD has a blog, a Facebook fan page, and a Twitter account -- you've probably received the ominous email: Tulsa Police is now following you... -- but they aren't using any of them in an effective and timely fashion.

For several years now, I've been on a Tulsa Police Department Media Relations e-mail list. Nearly every morning around 8, I receive an email with subject line "Daily" with an attached PDF file. The PDF consists of a description of significant TPD activity the previous night. Except for the TPD letterhead, the PDF is mainly text. Until recently, the body of the email contained only the name of the media contact of the day. Over the last week or so, they've begun to put the text of the document in the body of the email -- an improvement -- but they still attach the PDF and now they're embedding a 262 KB image of the TPD badge in the email, bloating the size of each email to about 1/2 a megabyte.

There are occasional bulletins, too, like the one I received Thursday night about a special-needs child who had wandered away from his south Tulsa home. The email included a high-resolution photo of the boy and a description.

The TPD's use of email seems to assume an old-media approach to disseminating information to the public: The assignment editor at the newspaper, TV station, or radio station receives the email, prints off the attachment, and hands it off to a reporter, who follows up with the TPD media relations officer of the day to prepare a story for broadcast that night or the next day's paper.

Let me use Thursday's missing-boy story as an example of how TPD's approach slows down the dissemination of information they want to convey to the public.

As soon as I saw the email on Thursday evening and decided to help get out the word, I saved the attached photo to my hard drive, uploaded it to my blog database (using the blog software's capability to produce a smaller version that would fit the blog format -- I might also have edited it myself), created a new blog entry with the text from the TPD email, and then published it. I went through all these steps mainly so I could have a link to detailed information that I could then post to Twitter and Facebook. Shortly after I got all this done -- within 30 minutes of TPD sending the email -- I learned that the boy had been found, and so I updated the blog entry and sent out the news on Twitter and Facebook. Had there been a blog entry to which I could have linked, I could have pushed the information out to my blog readers and social networks within a minute or two of seeing the email.

To the extent that word got out to the public, TPD was dependent on media outlets to be paying attention at 8 pm on a Thursday evening. There's a better way that would allow TPD to reach more citizens more quickly and more directly. Here's the way the missing-boy story could have been handled:

  • TPD posts the photo of the boy, description, and details of the disappearance on the Tulsa Police Department blog.
  • TPD uses its @tulsapolice Twitter account to send a bulletin with a link to the blog entry with all the details. The link should be shortened with is.gd or a self-hosted link shortener, so that more of the maximum 140 characters are available to explain what's up. As an example, here's my tweet from Thursday night:
    9 yr old special-needs child missing near 101st and Yale #tulsa http://is.gd/8aKXR Tulsa tweeps please RT
    (If such info were available via @tulsapolice, I'd have those tweets sent to my phone, so that I'd see them ASAP. I'm sure many other Tulsans would do the same.
  • TPD sends a direct link (not a shortened one) via its Facebook fan page, and uses the boy's photo as the link summary thumbnail. The accompanying text should still be brief, but Facebook allows a bit more room to explain the situation.
  • TPD sends an email to its media list with the text of the blog entry, a small version of the photo, and a link back to the blog entry. If a media outlet needed a high-res version of the photo, they could obtain it at the relevant blog entry.

The media and the public then would help TPD spread the word:

  • Twitter followers of @tulsapolice retweet the link to the TPD blog entry. All it takes is a single click to spread the message.
  • Facebook fans of Tulsa Police Department share the link to the TPD blog entry with their Facebook friends.
  • Bloggers post info online with link to TPD blog entry, hot-linking photo from TPD site.
  • Traditional media posts breaking news online (with a link to TPD blog entry), follows up with TPD for news story for later broadcast or publication.

Under this approach, when the boy was found, TPD would have posted an update at the top of the same blog entry, and then sent that same link to that blog entry back out via Twitter, Facebook, and email, with the accompanying message that the boy had been found. By putting the updated info on the same blog entry, someone reading the alert later and following the link would immediately see the latest developments.

(It should go without saying, but every such email and blog entry should include day, month, and year in the body of the text, to prevent out-of-date information circulating forever as an emailed urban legend.)

From a TPD press release Tuesday, reversing the February 4 decision not to respond to non-injury accidents:

Due to police layoffs, a temporary change in collision response was made on February 4, 2010, until a manpower re-distribution and re-structuring of the Department could be evaluated. Since that time, the Police Department has reviewed 911 call priorities and the decision of diverting non-injury collision calls to alternative reporting methods.

Effective immediately, Tulsa Police will respond to all collisions on public roadways in the Tulsa City limits. Some collisions on Private Property, i.e. shopping center parking lots, will be referred to alternative reporting (Operator Collision forms at local convenience stores and online).

We would like to thank the citizens of Tulsa for their patience and support during these difficult times. Additionally, we appreciate the Tulsa County Sheriff's office for volunteering to be on standby during that time of transition.

Listening to last week's radio reports of slick roads brought to mind a commercial parody from back when Michael DelGiorno hosted the morning show on 1170 KFAQ, back during Tulsa's last budget crisis, early in the Bill LaFortune administration. A 911 caller with a police emergency was told by the dispatcher that because the city was on "Operation Slick Budget," an officer couldn't respond to the call.

It's not quite that bad, but police response to certain calls will decrease as a result of Tulsa Police Department layoffs, according to a TPD press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For More Information Contact
Officer Jason Willingham
February 4, 2010
918.596.1336

Due to the recent reductions in staffing, the Tulsa Police Department has been forced to evaluate ways to maintain the staffing levels in order to respond to priority 911 calls. As a result, the department has temporarily suspended responding to certain property crimes and report calls.

Officers will not respond to non-injury collisions, fraud and forgery reports, burglary from vehicle reports, larceny reports and other minor property crime reports. The exception to this new policy will be a non-injury collision involving an intoxicated driver, or a non-injury collision involving a disturbance or other crime. Officers will respond to calls for service if the crime is in progress or if a suspect is still at the location.

While we understand that this may not be a popular decision, it is important to continue to have adequate manpower to respond to higher priority calls and crimes against a person. This change will be revisited as the department recovers form these difficult times.

Crime Reports can be filed electronically at the Tulsa Police Department website www.tulsapolice.org or call the Non-emergency number at 596- 9222 for other reporting options.

I got a call yesterday from someone upset about "24 Hours in Tulsa," the BBC World Service documentary about Tulsa police officers. The documentary is based on Officer Jay Chiarito-Mazzarella's Street Stories podcast. Much of the 22-minute piece is Chiarito-Mazzarella retelling some of his stories, with a few words changed to be more comprehensible to an international audience (measurements in meters instead of feet, "windscreen" instead of "windshield").

The friend who called heard about the documentary from a relative living overseas. My friend was concerned that, however accurate the stories, the documentary painted Tulsa and its police department in a negative light.

What do you think? Listen to the broadcast at the link above. You can also download "24 Hours in Tulsa" as an 11 MB MP3 file. Then post your comments below. Should TPD officers have to get permission to interact with the media or to blog about work? Should this have been handled through the TPD's public affairs office or the Mayor's office?

BBC World Service will present a radio documentary called "24 Hours in Tulsa."

For one police officer, patrolling the streets of Tulsa, Oklahoma, has become more than just a job.

Jay Chiarito-Mazarrella has created a cult following for his self-narrated Street Story podcasts - fresh, funny and sometimes frightening insights into his daily work.

Spend a night with him and his colleague, Corporal Will Dalsing, as they go on night patrol.

The program will air live in the time slot for "The Wednesday Documentary" on Wednesday, December 30, 2009, at 4:05 am, 9:05 am, 2:05 pm, and 7:05 pm, Central Standard Time, and it should be available online for about a week thereafter via the BBC iPlayer at this link. If you happen to have an HD radio, you can hear the program over the air on 88.7-HD3, which airs BBC World Service 24 hours a day.

(Via William Franklin's post at TulsaNow's public forum.)

A press release from the Tulsa Police Department:

On April 19th and April 26th at 9:00 p.m., the Tulsa Police Department's Homicide Unit will be featured on an episode of the Interrogators, as seen on the Biography Channel. This is an opportunity for the citizens of Tulsa and individuals around the country to see the outstanding job that our Homicide Unit does. The Tulsa Police Homicide Unit is continually above the national average in solved homicide cases.

The viewer will be able to see detectives as they interview homicide suspects in an attempt to gain the suspects confession. These are not actors.

Viewers should check with their local satellite or cable provider for the location of the Biography Channel.

The Biography Channel is on Cox Digital channel 164. You can find clips of the episodes featuring the Tulsa police department online here. Direct links to the clips:

Sgt. Mike Huff shows the TPD interview room.

Sgt. Mike Huff and Det. Mike Nance sitting in Elmer's Barbecue, talking about being on duty 24 hours a day.

Preview of Episode 5 featuring TPD Det. Mike Nance.

Preview of Episode 6 featuring Det. Vic Regalado, who talks about a murder scene on 6th St. See if you can figure out the name of the business, which has been blurred.

Tulsa's police union won their contract arbitration with the City of Tulsa today, as an arbitration panel selected the Fraternal Order of Police's proposal over that of city management, resolving a lengthy contract impasse for the current fiscal year, which began last July, according to a press release today from Philip Evans, president of the Tulsa FOP Lodge #93:

On Thursday February 19, 2009 an Arbitration Panel jointly chosen by the City of Tulsa and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 93, notified us they had resolved the labor contract for the parties for this fiscal year. The Panel selected the contract offer of the FOP after three days of hearings and submission of financial and other evidence. By law the Panel had to select either the FOP package offer on all issues or City management's.

The hearing was governed by Oklahoma law that requires the arbitration procedure to resolve labor impasses instead of a strike by officers. The impasse was over several terms of the labor contract that runs from July 1, 2008 through June 30, 2009. The Panel's decision is retroactive to July 1, 2008.

The primary issues in the impasse involved wages, health insurance, drug testing and take home cars. On wages the City offered 2% effective July 1, 2008 where the FOP offer was 3% but effective on January 1, 2009. The FOP offer actually cost less over the fiscal year. Tulsa officers' compensation still remains far behind the average of other comparable cities, including Oklahoma City.

On health insurance, the FOP offer was to receive the same insurance contributions that all other City employees get. City proposed to reduce the insurance contributions for police to the level other City employees received four years ago. The Panel found that the City already agreed in the contract to pay the police at the same level as other employees and that there was "no financial or policy basis to pay a lower amount for its Police Officers."

Another issue was drug testing. The FOP proposal requires all officers to undergo random testing and the Panel adopted that proposal when it selected the FOP offer.

Take home cars were also addressed by the Panel. That benefit was extended by agreement in July, 2005 to officers who live within 25 miles of 41st and Yale. Since that time it has been continued in labor contracts by Mayor Taylor and the City Council. The Panel cited the research regarding the increased police presence on the streets when officers commute and the fact the benefit helps attract qualified police applicants. The FOP had offered to pay for the benefit but that offer was rejected by City management who wanted more. When gas prices fell below 2005 levels, the FOP withdrew the offer. The Panel found the City failed to prove there were cost factors or public policy reasons for taking away the benefit. The decision means the benefit will remain the same for the rest of the fiscal year.

Based on testimony by Mike Kier, the City Finance Director, the Panel found that both the General Fund and the Police budget could absorb any additional costs of the FOP offer out of fuel savings alone.

UPDATE: Robert Carpenter was found shortly after midnight, Dec. 16, near 81st and Mingo. At 3 pm, TPD reported that Joe Kelley III had been found.

The Tulsa Police Department is requesting help in locating two missing persons, one old and one young. (Translated from police-ese to English.)

Carpenter.jpgThe Tulsa Police Department is asking for assistance with locating a missing elderly male. Missing is Robert Carpenter, black male, date of birth 05-05-32, 5'09" & 165 lbs with black hair and brown eyes. Carpenter was last seen at about 4:00 p.m. [December 15], in the area of 3900 N. Elgin Avenue. Carpenter walked away from this residence. Due to the extreme cold and Mr. Carpenter's age officers believe that he could be in danger. Carpenter was last seen wearing blue coveralls and a dark hat.
kelley.jpgThe Tulsa Police Department is seeking assistance with locating Joe Kelley III, Indian male, date of birth 01-23-05, 3'01" & 60 lbs. The child's mother told detectives that Kelly was last seen on 12-14-08 at 8:30 p.m., with his step-father in the area of 1800 S. Sheridan Road. Detectives have spoken with the step-father, who denies that the child was in his custody. At this time detectives believe that the child could be in danger. See attached photo. Last seen wearing gray sweatpants and a white long sleeve shirt.

If you have any information about either of these missing persons, contact the Tulsa Police Department via 911. The non-emergency number for TPD is 918-596-9222.

(As a side note, I'm not sure why TPD doesn't post these notices to its blog as well as sending them out to media, and I'm not sure why they don't include direct phone contact info with these notices.)

A pair of 16-year-old boys were caught shortly after mugging and stabbing a man in the parking lot of the Sand Dollar Apartments on 61st west of Riverside. An alert security officer at a nearby apartment complex saw the two boys come in their gate and called police. From the Tulsa Police Department daily activity report:

Armed Robbery/Stabbing:

On December 10, 2008 at 10:30 p.m., officers were assigned to 934 E. 61st Street to investigate an Armed Robbery. Upon arrival officers found the victim, Kyle Stange, 20 yoa, who had been robbed and stabbed in the right leg. The victim was in the parking lot of the Sand Dollar Apartments when he was approached by two juvenile males. One of the suspects grabbed the victim as the other suspect stabbed him. The suspects took the victim's wallet and fled. The victim was transported to a local hospital and taken into surgery. At this time his condition is not known.

While officers were at the crime scene they were contacted by security at the Fairmont Terrace Apartments. Security had observed two juvenile males enter through the front gate shortly after the robbery. Officers located one of the suspects outside his apartment. The suspect implicated himself in the robbery. The suspect then gave officers information about the second suspect. Officers located the other juvenile at his residence, which was also at this complex. Both 16 yoa, males were taken into custody for Armed Robbery. One of the juveniles was also arrested for Assault with a Dangerous Weapon. During subsequent interviews the suspects admitted to three additional robberies. These robberies occurred on December 3rd, 4th and 7th.

*Note: The information in this report is preliminary information and is subject to change as the investigation continues.

It's amazing to think that 20 years ago, Sand Dollar was one of my stops on the apartment search. It wasn't a bad area then. Mondo's (remember Mondo's?) was just down the street. Taco Mayo, KFC, Sonic and Lot-A-Burger were on Peoria.

MORE: TPD's blog says that the victim, Kyle Stange, is a member of the Oklahoma National Guard, scheduled to be deployed to Iraq in a few months. An updated story on KOTV's website has more information, with photos of the alleged perps:

Police say two teens attacked Stange as he was getting out of his car.

They say Patrick Johnson held Stange from behind, while Ishmael Williams stabbed Stange in the right leg with, what's being described as, a large folder-type knife.

The 16-year-olds, according to police, then took Stange's wallet, eventually throwing it into the bushes.

They were arrested less than a quarter of a mile away at Fairmont Terrace Apartments.

Investigators say Johnson and Williams have been wreaking havoc at the Sand Dollar for the last two weeks. They say they've confessed to three robberies and they're suspects in a fourth.

Police say the teens admitted to robbing two pizza delivery drivers, as well as another man in the Sand Dollar parking lot.

Investigators tell The News On 6 Johnson and Williams would lie in wait for an unsuspecting victim and both admitted using knives for all of the robberies.

From today's Tulsa Police Department Daily Activity report, a tale of a horrific carjacking:

On December 9, 2008 at 10:22 p.m., officers were assigned to an Armed Robbery at 1100 N. Madison Avenue.... When [the victims] arrived in the area they found two black males standing in front of an abandoned house on the corner of Latimer and Madison. The two black males approached them, pointed handguns at both of them and told them to get out of their truck. Both victims were placed on the ground by the suspects. The suspects took the victim's wallets, cellular telephones and shoes. The suspects also took a 2000 Toyota pickup belonging to one of the victims. The victims were unable to give a better description of the suspects.

Why might that be? From earlier in the report:

The victims initially gave officers different versions of the robbery. The victims later admitted that they were in the area looking to buy illegal narcotics.

I get these reports on a daily basis. I'm not sure why TPD doesn't post them on their own blog, but since they don't. I'm going to start posting them here.

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