Rogers County THUG Task Force Makes 33 Arrests In 30 Days
ROGERS COUNTY, Oklahoma - The first 30 days of a task force created by the Rogers County Sheriff's Office to go after habitual offenders went so well, the sheriff says he would like to make it permanent.
Three Rogers County deputies were pulled off their regular assignments to work the THUG task force. Rather than waiting for the crimes to occur, the deputies were proactive, finding people who had warrants, serving search warrants, doing highway interdiction stops and conducting surveillance on areas known for burglaries and thefts.
As for the name of the task force, the sheriff says it fits.
"It's not being anything other than factual," Sheriff Scott Walton said. "These are thugs. Our message is we want to make it very difficult for people like this to exist in Rogers County. It shouldn't be difficult to work and raise a family and do what's right, but it should be very difficult to be a thug in Rogers County."
In the first 30 days, the task force made 33 arrests, seized 24 illegal weapons, recovered six stolen vehicles, took $30,000 worth of drugs off the streets, and served warrants totaling $154,000.
About $16,000 worth of stolen items that can now be returned to the rightful owners.
Rogers County has the largest population of all of Oklahoma's 77 counties, and deputies often see criminals there from other jurisdictions, including two fugitives from Missouri, who were driving a stolen truck full of the victim's work tools.
Task force members arrested them during an interdiction stop on I-44, near Catoosa.
"He's got a pistol in his waistband. He's running from the law, he's stolen a man's livelihood, and we see these cases time and time again. They're parasites. They prey on people who work for a living," Walton said.
The sheriff said the task force worked so well, he'd like to make it permanent, but staffing levels don't always allow for it.
He said, when they can, they'll be taking the fight to the criminals, rather than waiting for them to strike first.
Records show half of the people arrested by the task force had been to jail at least once before in the past.