Tulsa Police Officer Retiring After 24 Years As 'Eye In The Sky'
TULSA, Oklahoma - A Tulsa police helicopter pilot is retiring after 24 years.
While he's helped catch hundreds, maybe even thousands of criminals, he's hardly ever been the one to slap on the cuffs.
Tim Ward has spent 10,000 hours patrolling the streets of Tulsa, but not from inside a patrol car - from inside a bird. He's been the eye in the sky for 24 years for citizens and officers alike.
Officer Tim Ward started his career with Tulsa Police in 1990 after seven years on patrol in Normal. After five years with TPD, he made it to the Air Support Unit, a dream come true.
Officer Tim Ward, says, "I was asleep in my house one night and looked outside and a helicopter was hovering 100 feet off my backyard, and they were taking somebody into custody and I said, 'that's what I want to do,'" said Officer Tim Ward, TPD.
And, that's exactly what he's been doing for 24 years, using his skill and the latest technology to track suspects who are doing their best to avoid capture. Many of them would've been successful, had it not been for that eye in the sky.
"There's a lot of times after they've given up the search with the dog and officers on the ground, we'll take one more look. Sometimes, luck works in our favor," Ward said.
His proudest moment is the capture of a double murder suspect who killed two innocent grandparents. After searching for hours for the suspect's car, they spotted it. The suspect took off running, and the officers in the air directed the officers on the ground, in for the arrest.
They even used their footage to find a key piece of evidence.
"Turned out to be the weapon used in that homicide," Ward said.
Tim says he'll miss the adrenaline, but he won't miss the late nights and missing out on family activities. He is grateful he got to spend his career doing something he loves, every day.
Like most officers, he's not really retiring. He's already got a new job. He'll be a civilian employee at the police department in charge of equipment.