Tulsa May Form Meth Task Force

Tuesday, March 31st 2009, 5:18 pm
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Tulsa's fighting back against a recent spike in meth labs.  On Tuesday, the mayor's office announced the city is considering forming a special task force.          

The task force is being considered because the city is on pace for a record year for meth labs.  And, firefighters say the city needs to figure out how to stop them because there are lives on the line.

Tulsa Police are busting a meth lab four times a week.  The vast majority are operated out of houses and apartments.

"I have not seen a single month that has had this many fires directly related to methamphetamine," said Tulsa Fire Captain Michael Baker.

Already, police have found more labs than they did all of last year.  When there's a fire or a leak of hazardous chemicals, the Tulsa Fire Department responds, too.  In the last 30 days, they've been called out to six meth fires.

The mayor's office will hold a summit next week that includes cops, firefighters, Tulsa's Crime Commission, and apartment managers.

Captain Michael Baker says if an official meth task force is formed, the early thinking is to put together radio and television ads.

"The number one thing that this group can do is we can come together and we can share information.  The possibilities of how we get the message out and how we bring out the information, is endless," said Tulsa Fire Captain Michael Baker.

In the month of March alone, meth labs have been busted as far north as 36th Street North, as far south as 59th Street near I-44, as far west as South 64th West Avenue, and as far east as 47th and Fulton.

"It doesn't have a geographic boundary or an economic boundary," said Tulsa Fire Captain Michael Baker.

This week five children were placed in protective custody because their parents were involved in meth production.  And, firefighters are putting their lives on the line.

It's been a record year so far and city leaders say they've had enough.  Captain Baker says they'll hold the public summit next Monday night with more details.