Volunteers Donate Thousands Of Hours To Help Tulsa Police Department

Thursday, December 26th 2019, 10:17 pm
By: Mallory Thomas

Everyday citizens are helping detectives solve crime by donating their time to the Tulsa Police Department.

They don't have handcuffs, guns, or even badges, but they're helping solve crime in Tulsa.

"Just a few minutes ago, I was entering detail from a pawn shop and one of the items was a hand gun, a pistol. Bang - it came up as a hit that was stolen in October," said volunteer Les Barnes.

It's not what some may imagine, but for Les Barnes and Mike Phillips it's what retirement looks like.

"I got bored, so I started looking for stuff to do," said Mike Phillips.

And he found something to do. Every morning - Monday though Thursday - he's at the Tulsa Police burglary division. 

"I've never been bored, and these people are great to work with so it's just a place I want to be," Phillips said. "I look forward to getting here every day."

And the detectives look forward to the volunteers being there too.

"They basically get a lot of information for our detectives and free up their time so they can be busy doing different things," said Lt. Tim Means, Tulsa Police.

Lt. Tim Means is in charge of the burglary unit for TPD. He says since they started volunteering back in 2011, together Les and Mike have donated more than 9,300 hours. That's about four and a half years' work for a full-time employee. 

"If they were gone tomorrow, our efficiency would drop tremendously just because of the help and the stuff they do for us that allows us to do other things," Lt. Means said.

Like recovering stolen things.

Neither Mike or Les came from a law enforcement background, but they know how important the work is for the community.

"My son works for Tulsa Police Department," Barnes said. "I make sure he's on the ball when he send in reports."

"My wife is still working, so there is nothing to do at home except take care of the house and yard - and I don't want to do that," Phillips said.

"As long as I feel useful I'll keep coming here."

The total number of hours volunteers have donated to TPD from April to November is more than 62,000 hours.

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