Oklahoma City Police Department
The Oklahoma City Police Department (OCPD or OKC PD), was established in 1898 following the Land Runs. The OCPD is the largest law enforcement agency in the State of Oklahoma and has primary police jurisdiction within the corporate limits of the City of Oklahoma City. The OCPD is one of the oldest police departments in Oklahoma, tracing its roots back to Indian Territory.
|Oklahoma City Police Department|
|Abbreviation||OCPD or OKC PD|
|Motto||Officium Integritas Honestas|
(English: "Duty, Integrity, Honor")
|Annual budget||$226 million (2021)|
|Operations jurisdiction||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA|
|Map of Oklahoma City Police Department's jurisdiction.|
|Size||621.2 square miles (1,609 km2)|
|Legal jurisdiction||State law and municipal ordnance|
|Headquarters||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma|
Specialized services which are part of the OCPD include the Tactical Team, K9, lake patrol, police aviation, bomb squad, counter-terrorism, criminal intelligence, anti-gang, narcotics, and airport police. The OCPD is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
The OCPD has a crime scene investigation service and full crime laboratory, as well as units which assist with electronic and computer crime investigations. In 2015, there were 1,169 sworn officers and 300 civilians employees serving in the department.
The Oklahoma City Police Department was officially formed following the Land Rush of 1889 in central Indian Terroity.[page needed] The department began as a small collection of officers. The department's first Chief was Charles F. Colcord and municipal court was held in a small tent near California Avenue.[page needed] By the turn of the century, public drinking had caused many quality of life issues for the small community. In 1907, Oklahoma voters approved a liquor prohibition. A new City Charter was adopted early in March 1911. One of the Charter's provisions changed the office of the Chief of Police from elective to appointive. The charter also adopted a commissioner form of government.[page needed] In July 1911, Mayor Whit Grant named Bill Tilghman as police chief.[page needed] Tilghman had earned a reputation in the Western frontier having served as a U.S. Marshal, where tracked down outlaws like Bill Doolin.[page needed] Under Tilgham's leadership, the OCPD rigorously targeted gambling, bootlegging, and prostitution rings.
World War I & Post WarEdit
During the war, the OCPD established a Traffic Department and motorcycle squad. The department also implemented an electric callbox system citywide.[page needed] Officers walking a beat were required report with police dispatch by pushing "6-1" on the callbox.[page needed] By 1923, the OCPD had expanded from 90 officers to 150. Additionally, the department created a mounted patrol unit, which began patrolling residential districts and directing traffic.[page needed] In 1927, the city adopted a city manager form of government, in an effort to make city services non-partisan.[page needed] In 1928, the OCPD created training courses for officers. Newly hired officers were required to complete the courses.[page needed]
Great Depression eraEdit
America's gangster era ushered in a new paradigm for the OCPD. The crime wave of the Great Depression forced the OCPD to begin a transition from a loose collection of untrained men, towards a professionalized force. During the Thirties, nine officers were killed in the line of duty.[page needed] The OCPD began created a "Radio Patrol Unit" and began installing mobile radios in police cars, which greatly improved the safety and efficiency of officers.
Perhaps one of the department's most interesting lawmen emerged during this time. D.A. "Jelly" Bryce, joined the OCPD in 1928. Known for his dapper appearance, he earned the nickname "Jelly" from fellow officers.[page needed] By the early 1930s, Bryce was promoted to the department's "Raiding Squad" as a plain clothes detective.[page needed] In the unit, Bryce recovered dozens of stolen cars, and broke-up numerous bootlegging outfits and gambling rackets.[page needed] Bryce was renown for his ability to track down outlaws and gangsters, most notably, Wilbur Underhill.[page needed] Bryce often carried a shotgun and Thompson sub-machine gun while on duty.[page needed] During his law enforcement career, Bryce was involved in 19 gun battles and killed at least 17 men.[page needed] However, the exact number is unknown due to poor record keeping at the time.[page needed] Bryce was known for his quick draw and was featured in LIFE magazine.[page needed] He was electronically timed at two-fifths of a second to draw and accurately fire.[page needed] It was reported at the time that "if a criminal blinked at Jelly Bryce, he would die in darkness."[page needed] Bryce left the OCPD and later became an FBI Special Agent in Charge, before running unsuccessfully for Governor of Oklahoma.
World War II & Post WarEdit
Throughout the World War II, the department suffered from a severe shortage of manpower.[page needed] As a result, the requirements to become a police officer were relaxed and many clerical positions were filled by civilians.
Following the war, the OCPD began a move towards specialization and professionalization. The department created a training unit.[page needed] The unit conducted a 144-hour training course for new recruits.[page needed] The department began new investigation units, such as burglary, traffic accident, white collar crime, and fingerprint collection.
During the early 1960s, the OCPD established a K-9 unit, a forensics laboratory, and a police academy.[page needed] In 1965, the OCPD headquarters building at 701 Colcord Avenue was completed. In 1969, the OCPD began issuing sidearms to officers.[page needed] The department issued officers S&W Model .38 Specials.[page needed] In the years prior, officers had been required to purchase their own weapons.
In the 1970s, the OCPD began the Alcohol Safety Action Project (ASAP) designed to reduce drunk driving.[page needed] The department also created a Selected Enforcement Unit, designed to reduce crime in problematic areas.[page needed] The OCPD also added a police helicopter and Tactical Team (SWAT).[page needed] In 1974, Shirley Cox became the first female OCPD officer.[page needed] In the fall of 1975, OCPD officers went on a work slowdown to protest low wages.[page needed] On October 24, nearly all of the OCPD's 600 officers walked into City Hall and placed their badges on the city council's conference table.[page needed] Over the next three days, the Oklahoma County Sheriff Office and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol provided police service to the city.[page needed] Finally, on October 27, a settlement was reached, which resulted in a pay increase and added benefits for officers.[page needed]
In the 1980s the city's population rapid grew, and so did crime rates.[page needed] The department implemented new equipment, such a mobile CSI unit, forensic training for patrol officers, and a field training program (FTO).
On April 19, 1995 Timothy McVeigh carried out the Oklahoma City bombing, which was the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history. McVeigh detonated a Ryder truck bomb at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building which killed 168 people. Oklahoma City Police were the first on scene and began rescue efforts. Sgt. Detective Mike McPherson of the Auto Theft Unit and a Bomb Squad member arrived on scene moments after the blast. McPherson assisted the investigators by locating the hidden VIN number on the axle, which later allowed the FBI to tie the truck to McVeigh.
In the fall of 2015, the department opened a new headquarters building at 700 Colcord Drive. The new building cost approximately $22 million and has a floor area of more than 88,000 square feet. The building houses approximately 300 civilians, detectives, and administrators.
Office of the ChiefEdit
The Chief's offices are located at the main police headquarters at 700 Colcord Dr on the west side of Downtown Oklahoma City.
The Chief's office oversees the operations of the Special Investigations Division (SID), Emergency Management Coordinator (EMC), Office of Media Relations, and the Office of Professional Standards. The Chief's office also has responsibility for finance and personnel oversight of the department and provides direction to the Oklahoma City division of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP). Additionally, the office also includes a Police Chaplain's unit and the C.H.A.P.P.S. program, which assists officers in times of crisis or emotional distress.
|Chief of Police||Responsible for overseeing department-wide operations|
|Deputy Chief||Responsible for overseeing operation sections|
|Major||Responsible for overseeing division wide operations|
|Captain||Responsible for overseeing shift-wide operations.|
|Lieutenant||First supervisory rank|
|Inspector||Senior detective, denoting at least 15 years of service|
|Master Sergeant||Senior patrol title, denoting at least 15 years of service|
|Staff Sergeant||Title denoting at least 10 years of service|
|Sergeant||Title denoting at least 5 years of service|
|Detective||Title given to officers or sergeants assigned to investigations|
|Police Officer||Rank attained by recruits upon the completion of one year of probationary status|
|Probationary Officer||Title given to recruits after the completion of the Field Training Program|
|Recruit Officer||Rank attained after graduation from the police academy|
|Recruit||Title given to personnel while assigned as a student in the police academy|
The Administration Bureau provides administrative functions, such as training and recruiting, planning and research, and logistics support. it is located at police headquarters in downtown OKC. it also supervises the 9-1-1 emergency communications center, which is in downtown Oklahoma City. The facility was built in 2002 and is designed to withstand an EF5 tornado.
The Operations Bureau provides the bulk of the visible police operations that would be seen by the public. It includes the patrol divisions, as well as several specialized units such as the athletic league and a community relations unit.
There are four patrol divisions and one sub-division, which serve the various geographical areas of Oklahoma City:
- Hefner Division (Northwest Oklahoma City)
- Southwest Division (Southwest Oklahoma City)
- Santa Fe Division (Southeast Oklahoma City)
- Springlake Division (Northeast Oklahoma City)
- Bricktown Sub-division (Bricktown and downtown Oklahoma City)
The Uniform Support Division includes special units. These units assist patrol officers with specialized skills and equipment. Some of the units are part-time and officers are assigned elsewhere until needed.[page needed]
The department presents a number of medals and ribbons to its members for honorable service. The medals that the OCPD awards to its officers are as follows:
- Police Medal of Honor – The highest award in the department. The medal is awarded for extraordinary act of bravely performed at tremendous personal risk to the officer.
- The Police Cross – The department's second highest award. The cross is awarded to the family member of a fallen officer.
- Medal of Valor – The third highest award. The medal is awarded to an officer for an exceptional act of bravery in the face of peril.
- Police Medal for Meritorious Service – The medal is awarded to an officer for excellent service performed in a distinguished fashion.
The department has awarded service ribbons commemorating the service officers who participated in the search and rescue efforts following the Oklahoma City bombing. The OCPD also awards officers a ribbon for life-saving action taken during the course of their duties.[page needed]
Since the establishment of the Oklahoma City Police Department, 31 officers and one recruit officer have died in the line of duty. There is a memorial to fallen OCPD officers at police headquarters.[page needed]
About 8:30 AM Friday, March 16, 2001, Joseph L. Meyer, 33, fled on foot the scene of a non-injury accident near NW 36th and Pennsylvania. About the same time Justin Cornielson was preparing to unload cases of Budweiser beer from a tractor-trailer at the Homeland grocery store at NW 39th and Pennsylvania (Penn). Cornielson had just opened the back of his truck when Meyer climbed into the driver’s seat and started driving off. Oklahoma City Police officers started pursuing the stolen beer truck south bound on Penn. The truck turned east on NW 5th street. Cases of beer were flying out on to the street.
As the chase neared Walker Avenue Sgt. Jim Wheatley tried to ram the truck but got his scout car trapped under the truck and was being dragged. Meyer turned the truck right at Walker, freeing the scout car, but lost control and crashed the truck into a building at 500 N Walker.
As officers scrambled out of their cars, police dog Rudy was unintentionally allowed to leave his police K-9 unit and mistakenly attacked Police Sgt. Randy Hall. Hall thought he was being attacked by a neighborhood dog and shot it, killing K-9 Rudy, a 10-year-old Belgian Malinois. Rudy had served with the Oklahoma City Police Department for five years with his partner and handler, Sgt. Lyndell Easley. Rudy had served with a law enforcement agency in Michigan prior to coming to Oklahoma City.
Joseph Meyer was arrested near the scene and charged with larceny of a vehicle, assault with a deadly weapon and attempting to elude police.
The OCPD's public integrity unit traces its history to the earliest days of the department. During the World War I era, rules governing the conduct of officers were strict.[page needed] Smoking while in uniform was strictly prohibited and officers were barred from working other jobs.[page needed] A department rulebook from the time states, "All members of the Police Department shall be considered as ALWAYS on duty and the same responsibility for the suppression of disturbance and the arrest of offenders rests upon them when not in uniform as when on post of duty."
Office of Professional StandardsEdit
Allegations of misconduct are investigated by the OCPD's Office of Professional Standards (OPS).[page needed] The office is composed of supervisors, who work in conjunction with specialized detective units to investigate claims of misconduct, including those both criminal or unprofessional in nature. Following an investigation by the Office of Professional Standards, a Citizen's Advisory Board, composed of 11 civilians from the community, reviews the allegations and the findings of the investigation.[page needed] Following the review, the civilian board may submit recommendations to the chief of police or the city manager.
Body worn camerasEdit
In 2015, the department announced plans to implement body cameras for patrol officers with an initial pilot program lasting a year, to be followed by wider adoption. The pilot program started in January 2016, but the use of these cameras was suspended less than six months later due to labor disagreements between the department and the Oklahoma City Fraternal Order of Police. After negotiations resolved the labor dispute, the pilot program was restarted in November 2016. The department is committed to expanding camera use, and by February 2017 there were 345 cameras available for deployment. The initial program costs of Watch Guard camera system is reported to be $683,325. This cost does not include the additional personnel required to manage the program.
In 1985, the department hired Joyce Gilchrist as a police chemist. In 1994 she was promoted to supervisor. She was fired in 2001 for "flawed casework analysis" and "laboratory mismanagement." She had testified in eleven cases that had resulted in executions and at least one that resulted in a four million dollar settlement by the city because of her faulty testimony.
In December 2010, the department agreed to formally apologize and pay $30,000 to a woman who was mistakenly arrested in front of her grandchildren in 2009, after her name was incorrectly entered into a database by a police clerk.
In July 2011, Oklahoma City police arrested about twenty children who were waiting outside a movie theatre after the movie ended. They were initially charged with curfew violations, although the arrests happened twenty minutes before the 11:00PM deadline. Police Chief Bill Citty admitted the officers involved made a mistake.
In December 2015 Officer Daniel Holtzclaw was convicted of 18 charges of rape or sexually assault against multiple women (ranging in age from 17 to 57) on his patrol route. He was also found not guilty on 18 charges. Investigations showed that Holtzman had run background checks on some of his victims, targeting women with criminal records. Holtzclaw was fired from the department before the trial began in January, and after the guilty verdict was returned, Police Chief Citty issued a statement that "we are satisfied with the jury's decision and firmly believe justice was served". The conviction is controversial. Michelle Malkin argues that Holtzclaw was wrongfully convicted in the case, which she calls a "Monstrous miscarriage of justice."
On November 15, 2017, Sgt. Keith Sweeney responded to a call with an emotionally disturbed person, Dustin Pigeon, who was threatening to light himself on fire. Pigeon was holding a bottle of lighter fluid and a lighter. Sweeney, who was the third officer to arrive at the call, has been criticized for escalating the interaction, which eventually resulted in Sweeney shooting and killing Pigeon. After reviewing the incident, Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater filed 2nd Degree Murder charges against Sweeney. In an August 2018 preliminary hearing, Oklahoma County Special Judge Kathryn Savage found enough evidence to bind Sweeney for trial.
Applicants who are accepted into OCPD Police Academy begin their employment as a "Police Recruit" at the OCPD Training Center at 800 North Portland Avenue.[page needed] The OKCPD police academy lasts 28 weeks and is mostly a non-residential academy.[page needed] Recruits are paid employees while attending the academy.
Field Training ProgramEdit
The OCPD Field training program (FTO) is modeled after the San Jose system. The program requires graduates of the police academy to complete a four- to six-month-long training phase in the field with a senior officer. During the FTO program, Recruit Officers are graded daily on more than 30 different categories ranging from personal safety to interactions with citizens. Officers must have acceptable scores to continue through the program.
In 2015, the OCPD entered into an official partnership with the OKC Metro Tech. The partnership created an "OCPD Cadet Academy." The program is designed to prepare high school students for careers in public safety or law enforcement. Students are introduced to the basics of law enforcement, such as defensive tactics, forensic investigations, and criminal law. In addition, cadets receive training in emergency vehicle driving and weapons. The goal of the program is to groom high school students for the OCPD Police Academy.
Vehicles and aircraftEdit
Police vehicles used by OCPD include the Crown Victoria Police Interceptor, Ford Police Interceptor Sedan, Ford Police Interceptor Utility, Ford F-250, Ford Ranger, Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Tahoe, and the Lenco BearCat used by the Tactical Team. The departments also uses several types of boats for lake patrol and motorcycles for traffic enforcement.
In 2012, OCPD began transitioning to the Ford Police Interceptor Sedan and Ford Police Interceptor Utility for patrol officers. In appearance, the vehicles are all black. The word "POLICE" is printed in large white letters on the side doors, and "We Serve With Pride" appears above the rear wheel wells. The seal of the City of Oklahoma City appears on the front doors. An abbreviation denoting the division that the vehicle is assigned to appears on the rear trunk (HF-Hefner, SW-Southwest, SF-Santa Fe, SL-Springlake, BT-Bricktown, WRWA-Will Rogers World Airport, US-Uniform Support, BP-Bike Patrol, G-Gang Unit, T-Traffic). Also printed on the rear trunk area is the car number with the word "POLICE" in small white letters.
In 2014, the department began using two Eurocopter AS350 Écureuil helicopters. The helicopters are stationed at the department's helipad at the Downtown Airpark. The helicopters are equipped with Forward looking infrared cameras and searchlights. When in flight, the helicopters use the FAA callsign Air-One or Air-Two to communicate with Oklahoma City Air Traffic Control. Prior to 2014, the OCPD operated a pair of MD 500E helicopters as its air-support assets.
In 1990 the department abandoned the S&W Model 65 revolver and began issuing the Glock 17 9mm pistol. The Glock pistol remained the primary issue sidearm of the department until 2017, when it switched to the Sig Sauer P320 chambered in 9mm. Officers are issued and complete their academy training and probation with the P320. After completing their new hire probation officers may select another firearm from an approved list, but must purchase the gun and supporting equipment at their own expense.
In 2007 the department implemented a patrol rifle program. Officers are selected for the department's patrol rifle school, and upon successful completion are issued a Rock River AR-15. The department also has Remington Model 870 shotguns that are issued at officer request.
The OCPD Tactical Team uses a range of specialized weapons, including the Rock River AR-15 and Heckler & Koch G36K assault rifle, as well as the Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun and custom made sniper rifles.
In the past the department allowed a variety of weapons, and during Prohibition, some officers carried Thompson submachine guns. The department still maintains some of the historic Thompson guns in its inventory.[page needed]
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