Donation Helping Officers Stay Safe On The Job

Tuesday, May 1st 2007, 7:59 pm
By: News On 6

In 2004, Walter Helmerich donated money to the Tulsa Police Department for 100 rifles. The fear at the time was street officers were out-gunned and didn't always have time for the SWAT team to get there, but News On 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright reports there was no money in the budget for additional weapons, so when Helmerich asked police Chief Dave Been what was needed, Been asked him for the .233-caliber rifles.

A gunfight with Los Angeles Police and bank robbers in 1997 made police officers all over the country, including in Tulsa, sit up and take notice. The officers were badly outgunned, especially with the robbers using armor piercing rounds.

Tulsa Police say their AR15 rifles were just the ticket to ensure at least 100 street officers would have enough firepower in fast moving, active shooter situations.

"One of the biggest advantages to having patrol rifles in the field is the ability to maintain distance, be further away and still take a surgical shot when needed," said Tulsa Police Sgt Mike Eckert.

The handguns are less accurate from a distance, and distance equals safety for officers facing a life and death situation. Police say they are seeing more situations like this, so having some of these guns on the streets, is better.

"Especially in hostage scenario, you're looking for windows of opportunity to stop the threat at the earliest possible moment, and when officers have to wait for additional people and people with different weapons, it's obviously more of a danger to citizens and officers," said Eckert.

Many officers are also issued shotguns, but even the one ounce slugs wouldn't be precise enough in a case when an officer must hit the target, while also avoid hurting the hostage.

Officers are even more appreciative that they have these weapons, knowing they were donated by a concerned citizen.

Watch the video: Generous Oklahoman Helps Arm Police