Tulsa First Responders Better Equipped Since Last Snow Storm

Friday, December 6th 2013, 7:08 pm
By: News On 6

The people who save the rest of us in bad weather have learned a lot since the last big ice and snow storms. A lot of police, fire and sheriff's departments in Green Country are now better prepared for this type of weather.

Tulsa's police department has added a lot of equipment that now helps them better help us.

A few years ago, we had snow so deep, police cars were getting stuck everywhere. Officers couldn't get to calls and help the people in need--the very essence of their job.

The department tried to rent four-wheel drive vehicles, but none were available, so officers took matters into their own hands.

"They were driving their own four-wheel drive, personal vehicles, responding to emergency calls in their own vehicles, because our police cars simply couldn't make it," said Major Jonathan Brooks.

Rear-wheel drive, low to the ground Crown Victoria police cars were just not made for these conditions. That's why the police department added two dozen four-wheel drive Tahoes. It's also changing over its fleet.

TPD bought 85 all-wheel drive Ford Taurus Interceptors, with 80 more to arrive this year, plus all-wheel drive Explorers.

These vehicles do cost more, which means the department can't buy as many, but officers say they are much better tools for the job.

"I know we don't get a lot of snow in Oklahoma, but when we do, at least now, we're prepared," Brooks said.

The ice storm of 2008 led to other changes. Back then, this police station lost power, which also meant officers couldn't gas up their cars to get to calls. The department added six new generators, one at each police substation, one at the training academy and two at special ops buildings.

They can power an entire building and run the gas pumps at the fueling station for all city vehicles, including fire trucks.

"The bottom line is citizens depend on us to get there when they call," Brooks said. "No matter what, no matter if it's flooding or snowing, we have to get there."

The new police vehicles have come from the regular city budget, but Homeland Security money helped pay for the generators.