City Court Policy Stops Some OK Law Enforcement From Carrying Guns
TULSA, Oklahoma - An Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper is hoping Tulsa will consider a policy change after a court security guard asked him to leave his gun in the car.
Trooper Thomas Montgomery said he was on duty, but meeting his daughter for a municipal court hearing.
“My job starts when I put the uniform on and I walk out into the public. That's when my job starts,” Montgomery said.
He was on duty when he tried to go through Tulsa's municipal court security, but he didn't make it far.
Montgomery took a short break to be with his daughter on her birthday for a city court appearance.
He said because he wasn't there for 'official business' security told him he couldn't go into the courtroom with his weapon.
He wasn't here as a witness, he wasn't here to take anybody into custody, he wasn't here to escort a prisoner in. He was here on personal business with his daughter,” said Tulsa's deputy city prosecutor, David Shapiro.
Shapiro said the court administrator set the policy about five years ago after an issue with a bail bondsman.
“At some point, while he's in court, manages to get his gun out of his holster, there was no bad intent but he was fumbling with it,” Shapiro said.
Ever since, the prosecutor said it's been the policy that no law enforcement officers can carry their weapon into city court unless on official business.
But, over at the Tulsa County Courthouse, just a couple hundred yards away, there no such policy for law enforcement officers.
Montgomery said any law enforcement officer is considered 'on duty' when in uniform, even if on a break. And taking off his gun is not an option.
“Just being in uniform I'm a target…Just sitting in my patrol car I'm a target,” he said. “Today things are tumultuous for law enforcement. Law enforcement officers across this nation are being assassinated for being in uniform and I'm not gonna go unarmed in uniform.”
Montgomery didn't want to cause a scene, so he waited outside until his daughter was done.
Court administrator Kelly Brader is out of town and couldn't comment. Any policy change would be up to her.