Tulsa Police officer rebuilds computers to help local youngsters

Friday, November 21st 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa Police plan to do a holiday patrol next month that doesn't involve chasing bad guys, but instead, involves, playing Santa's helpers.

The idea began with one police officer that was using spare parts to rebuild computers. News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright explains how his ideas have grown to a department-wide project.

Computers were only common to the military when officer Glenn DeWeese was a youngster. Back then, one computer filled an entire room, but now, they're regularly used in elementary school and they're smaller and much cheaper. "I was helping my 12 year old grandson do his homework and his assignment was to go online and I realized that without a computer today, kids are very limited."

So, he took some spare parts, ordered a few more used parts online and committed to building 10 computers to give away to kids who needed them. He asked fellow police officers if they knew any kids from their beats who could use one.

The names poured in, the word spread and the project took on a life of its own. “Getting software donated, as we get families, I'm finding out the ages and I'll load age appropriate educational software like Read a Rabbit, that sort of thing."

Now, Glenn plans to have 20 completely cleaned up and refurbished computers to give-away. He has plenty of families to give them to, but is still short some parts. The goal of this project was simply to help kids in need, the by-product will be that kids get to see police in a whole new light. "Most times people call us, they'd rather not see us, even if it's someone kicked in their front door, they'd rather not had to have called us. Unlike firefighters, we rarely get to do something purely positive for the community."

During the week of Christmas, officers will turn into Santa's helpers and deliver a fun and useful holiday surprise. If you have an old computer, even one that's broken, Officer DeWeese could use it for the parts. He plans to rebuild even more computers for next year.

His office number is 596-1111