Tulsa Police Department Commendations
Thursday, March 1st 2007, 10:16 pm
News On 6
Department commendations are awarded to any member of the Tulsa Police Department for an outstanding act or achievement which brings credit to the City of Tulsa and/or the Tulsa Police Department. These acts are above and beyond the officerâ€™s basic assignment.
First, Officer Mark Wollmershauser Sr.
For many years, Officer Mark Wollmershauser has been actively involved in the Special Olympics and the Law Enforcement Torch Run. He serves on several committees including the Oklahoma Torch Run executive committee and conference planning committee. He also volunteers as a Special Olympics Coach and is a fundraiser for them. Officer Wollmershauser was recognized this year as the recipient of the Special Olympics' Tim Stafford Unsung Hero Memorial Award for his efforts. While it is likely officer Wollmershauser would have been just as active in philanthropy regardless of his profession, it certainly reflects well on the department and theyâ€™re fortunate to call him one of their own.
Officer Patrick Stephens
On March 31st, officers with the Tulsa Police Robbery Task Force apprehended two Logan County robbery and shooting suspects. The men had shot the victim in the leg, stomach and head, and were in critical condition when Logan County requested Tulsa Police assistance. Even though the Robbery Task Force physically arrested both men, the arrests would not have been possible without the work of Officer Patrick Stephens finding them. Officer Stephens relentlessly tracked the suspects for two weeks, working closely with law enforcement in Logan County and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics. Officer Stephens got a search warrant and received information from cell phone providers with surveillance equipment loaned by OBN, which pinpointed the suspects' location within a few square miles. He made things happen that had never been done before, which gave Logan County and OBN a positive image of the Tulsa Police Department and helped get two dangerous criminals away from the public.
Officers Josh Dupler and Andrew Mackenzie
On January 29th, 2006, Officers Josh Dupler and Andrew Mackenzie were monitoring the parking lot at the Image Club on East 21st Street South as the crowd was leaving. Security told them a man was in a car, holding a rifle out the window. The parking lot was full of people and the two officers knew a felony take-down was too dangerous so they walked up to the car and took the two occupants into custody. They recovered a loaded SKS assault rifle with a 30 round clip and ballistics vest from the vehicle. Security later told them the man had gotten into an argument with a group earlier and planned to shoot at them in the parking lot. They undoubtedly stopped a heinous crime.
Officer Andrew Mackenzie
On May 6th, Officer Andrew Mackenzie contacted a suspicious person who was drinking a beer by the open door of an illegally parked vehicle. The man became hostile, threw his beer bottle down and began reaching into the waistband, as if to draw a weapon. He ignored Officer Mackenzieâ€™s commands and ran into the Landing Apartments complex. Officer Mackenzie gave chase and lost sight of the man at a corner. Officer Mackenzie cleared the corner using the â€œweaverâ€ technique and saw the man waiting to ambush him. The man had a pistol pointing directly at Officer Mackenzie from about 15 feet. Officer Mackenzie fired five shots, striking the man, who fell and dropped the pistol. Officer Mackenzieâ€™s use of proper tactics saved his life and potentially others.
Sgt. Virgil Litterell
On March 7th, 2005, Officer Don Arent was driving by the First and 10 Sports Bar on East 11th Street when the manager flagged him down and said a masked man had entered the bar and fired a shotgun round into the ceiling, then robbed the 15 customers. Officer Arent heard a second round fired inside the building. Officers began to respond and take up tactical positions. Then, the suspect grabbed a woman hostage and went out the back door, trying to get to his van. Sgt. Virgil Litterell saw the suspect turn sideways to get into the van, in order to pull the hostage in with him. Sgt. Litterell fired his AR-15 patrol rifle toward the suspect through the rear, driver's side large glass window of the van. The round hit the suspect and stopped him from leaving with the innocent woman. Sgt. Virgil Litterell ended a dangerous, volatile criminal situation and most likely saved the hostageâ€™s life.
Officer Brent Sanders
On the evening of May 4th, Tulsa Public Schools invited Officer Brent Sanders to a reception at Edison High School where he was awarded the Tulsa Public Schools Award of Excellence. Heâ€™d been nominated by Rogers High School Principal Teena Whitsel who said Sanders was without a doubt, the best School Resource Officers assigned to Tulsa Public Schools. He was known for counseling students in a mentorship role, while also maintaining an authoritative presence. He was also honored for taking ownership of his schools and his innovative approach to dealing with problems. No telling how many young peopleâ€™s lives he has turned around by his thoughtful, dedicated approach to his work.
Officer Gina Tuell and Sgt. Brandon Watkins
On October 30, 2001, Uniform Division East 3rd shift was briefed on the murder of Pawnee County Sheriff Dwight Woodrell. Officers received a vague description of a truck that might have been involved. Officer Gina Tuell located a truck that fit the description and stopped it for a tag violation. The driver was arrested for a paraphernalia charge, who than stated he had information about the murder. After further interrogation Sgt. Dave Brockman, Cpl. J. Ward and Officer T. Wilson were called for assistance. They interrogated informants and did surveillance of a motel room. Sgt. Brandon Watkins saw the suspect, James Taylor, exit the motel room and took him into custody. They developed John Ridgeway as a witness and located him. Taylor was convicted on March 6, 2006 of murdering Sheriff Woodrell. These officers took very little information and successfully caught a dangerous killer in a very short period of time.
Officer Keziya Thomas
On October 11th, Officer Keziya Thomas was walking to her apartment when she heard an alarm coming from a near by apartment. Officer Thomas discovered the apartment was full of black smoke and knew children as well as adults lived there. Officer Thomas called for the fire department, and then tried to make contact with the residents. When nobody answered, she forced her way into the smoke filled apartment. The smoke was overwhelming, but Officer Thomas got a towel from a concerned neighbor, placed it over her face and entered the apartment again. Officer Thomas found a burning pan in the kitchen and removed it. She checked every room to make sure it was empty. This example of her personal courage is a testament to her character.
Sgt. Stephanie Jackson
On January 28th, Sgt. Stephanie Jackson responded to a woman with knives call. The woman was threatening residents of the apartment complex and tried to force her way into occupied apartments. Sgt. Jackson couldnâ€™t contact the primary officer, so she entered the complex without knowing where the suspect was. Sgt. Jackson found the woman, who was armed with multiple knives. The suspect started at Sgt. Jackson and several citizens who were a short distance away. Sgt. Jackson pointed her gun and gave verbal commands. While she was doing that, she backed away from the suspect, drawing her toward her and away from the citizens. Sgt. Jackson was eventually cornered with the suspect still approaching with the knives. Sgt. Jackson fired several shots, hitting the suspect and stopping the threat. Sgt. Jackson placed the safety of others before her own, being true to her oath when it mattered most.
To return to the main 'Tulsa's Heroes story, click here.