Tulsa Police Chief Ron Palmer's last day on the job

Wednesday, July 3rd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa Police chief Ron Palmer's final shift was Wednesday. He retires in September, but is taking accumulated vacation time between now and then to begin his own security-consulting firm.

News on Six crime reporter Lori Fullbright talked with Chief Palmer Wednesday about his accomplishments, his regrets and what the future holds. Ron Palmer says good-bye to his staff after 10 years as Tulsa's police chief. Much has happened during that decade, he's most proud of boosting morale and improving technology on the force. "There wasn't a computer on my desk when I got here, now, we have laptops in every squad car and radios for every officer."

When thinking about his darkest days as chief, he doesn't choose the discipline he's had to hand out or the racial tensions he dealt with, but, something much closer to home. "Gus Spanos and Dick Hobson. Line of duty deaths was the hardest thing I had to deal with as chief." He's proud of how the department and community responded after those murders. With camcorders for cops campaign after Spanos was killed by a drug dealer and more officers wearing bulletproof vests after Hobson was ambushed in a downtown alley.

Chief Palmer's biggest regret is the recent court decision settling a lawsuit by the Black Officers Coalition that paints the department as racist and demands many changes. "The department doesn't deserve it and it should've never happened. We could've resolved the issues without the courts stepping in."

Even though terrorism is now a real concern, Palmer believes the top priority of police officers should still be the people they serve. “The nuts and bolts, working with neighbors, helping citizens solve their problems, that's what we should stay focused on."

Palmer says overall, he's pleased with his career in Tulsa and is ready to close the door on this chapter of his life and seek new adventures.