Tulsa Business Owners Not Happy With Police Response, Or The Lack Thereof

Tuesday, July 19th 2011, 5:48 pm
By: News On 6

Tara Vreeland, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A Tulsa auto repair shop is broken into, but when the owners called police, they were surprised to learn an officer would not be coming out to take a report. They were told to file their own report online.

The policy isn't new, but it may be news to you if you expect an officer to come out when a crime's been committed. Police will only respond to certain property crimes and report calls.

Nanette Lofton says finding her business burglarized was not the way she wanted to start her week. Lofton and her husband John own Lofton Motorsports. A burglar cut through the back fence and barbed wire.

"Right here is where they broke the glass and you can see where they broke the steering column too," Nanette said, pointing to the damage.

The burglars failed at stealing a vehicle and only got away with a radio. The vandalism was significant enough that the Loftons called police. They expected an officer to come look at the damage.

Police asked them to fill out a report online.

"Normally, because of the manpower issues, response changed. Burglary from vehicle being one of them," said Tulsa Police Officer Leland Ashley.

Tulsa Police say they also no longer respond to fraud and forgery reports, larceny, and other minor property crimes, unless the suspect is still on scene.

Police say manpower varies from shift to shift and day to day. Online reports free up officers to respond to higher priority calls.

"A lot of times if you look at a Saturday night shift, you might have additional officers. Normally manning levels are higher on what we perceive as a more busier time," Ashley said.

TPD is authoritzed to have a full force of 781 officers; they currently have 687.

Nanette said she'll fill out the online report.

"I don't think they are going to get as much detail. I'm not sure if an online report will be sufficient for our insurance company," she said.

She also says they will install security cameras out back and consider getting a guard dog, so they hopefully won't have to worry about any police reports in the future.

Police say whether or not an officer responds also depends on the circumstances of the crime.

Police say whether or not an officer responds also depends on the circumstances of the crime. They will respond to a calls for service if the crime is in progress and if the suspect is still at the location.