2013 Index of Articles

Merry Christmas Kids
Freedom Isn't Free Stop Resisting!
LEOs & CCL  

2015, 2014, 2012

Merry Christmas
December 2013

With Christmas just around the corner, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol wants to remind holiday shoppers to remember some tips while out and about shopping and celebrating. First and foremost, please drive sober. Drunk driving accounts for one death every 32 minutes in the U.S. alone. If that number doesn’t bother you then we wish you’d consider how you’d feel if one of those 32 people murdered were someone you cared about; maybe your mother, brother, husband or your child. Would it matter to you then? We believe every victim of drunk driving matters. Our goal is to eradicate drunk driving. With your help, we can.

Christmas is a wonderful time to get together with family and friends to celebrate the birth of our Savior. The tradition of exchanging gifts is popular and with more people out shopping this time of year, we would like offer a few shopping safety tips: Keep your hand bag and any purchases close to your body. Don’t lay them down and turn your back on them (even for a brief moment.) Park near a well-lit area, don’t go alone, always lock your vehicle, when walking to your vehicle (especially at night) keep your eyes roaming over the parking area. Be looking for trouble. It may never find you, but if you see it coming – you can divert first! Stay alert, don’t be texting and walking. Pay attention to your surroundings. Have your keys out and ready to unlock your vehicle then get in and lock the doors. Before you pull out of the parking space remember to buckle your safety belt and ensure that all of your passengers, especially the little people in your vehicle, are buckled up properly as well.

From all of your friends at the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, have a very Merry Christmas!


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Stop Resisting!
October 2013

Originally Published April 6, 2013

Nineteen years ago I attended the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training in Oklahoma City. Employed by the city of Tonkawa as their first female police officer, I was anxious to attend my basic police academy. It had only been a year since I had completed basic combat and Military Police training with the US Army. Many of the things I learned at Fort McClelland, Alabama were similar to the training I was receiving in Oklahoma City for the Tonkawa Police Department.

One huge difference though as explained by our defensive tactics instructor, Vince O'Neill, was the verbiage used when trying to get control of a non-compliant subject. The Army had taught me to say, "kill" or occasionally, "die." Instructor O'Neill was not real crazy about my constant use of these commands I screamed while I struck the large, red pads with my expandable baton.

My defensive tactics training partner was a tall, very fit, muscular, black guy with an incredibly infectious smile and an outrageous personality. He was attending CLEET while employed by the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office.

On one particular day of training, while my training partner held the pad that I was striking with the baton, I screamed, "Die!" just as our instructor passed by. Instructor O'Neill stopped my partner and I. He put his hands on each of our shoulders and reminded us again that we had to train as we would fight. We had to say, "Stop resisting," not "die."

"I'm not going to say that," I said after the instructor walked away. When my partner asked why I told him it sounded like a cheer, not a command. He laughed at me and then did his best "gay guy" impression by striking a pose like a cheerleader. With a dynamic lisp that I was certain he had used many times previously he started chanting, "Stop resisting, stop-stop resisting." He clapped his hands wildly in front of his face and off to either side of his body. He swung his long arms around carelessly and threw his hips off to one side and then the other as his full lips pursed together in a large pout. A slender index finger pointed straight at my face when he said, "Stop resisting," then he flashed me a perfect, white-toothed smile. It was that smile that sealed our friendship.

I'd never met someone so full of life and crazy fun to be around. Over the next 19 years, he and I would work together many times including recently as we worked on a publication that would bring us into contact on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis. When he died last Saturday, I was so stunned and heart-broken that I struggled to grasp the reality that he was really gone. For someone whose personality was bigger than life itself, it's hard to imagine that my buddy, Pete "Stop Resisting" Norwood, won't be around to share a laugh with anymore.
I'll forever treasure those hilarious memories of Pete, but I'm most grateful for one of our more serious conversations that took place only a couple of weeks ago. That's when Pete told me that he knew Jesus, but that more importantly, Jesus KNEW him.


Oklahoma Highway Patrol Captain Rodrick "Pete" Norwood, Jr. died at the Oklahoma Heart Hospital on March 30, 2013, from a sudden illness.
Captain Norwood graduated from the 48th Oklahoma Highway Patrol Academy in 1995. He had various assignments which included Troop J Enid, Garfield County, Oklahoma City Headquarters Public Information Office, Troop YC - H.E. Bailey Turnpike before being promoted to Lieutenant in 2005 out of the Public Information Office.

Captain Norwood was promoted to Captain in 2007 and assigned to the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, before being assigned as the Executive Officer then Troop Commander for Troop R - Capitol Section, in Oklahoma City. At the time of his death, Captain Norwood was the Department of Public Safety's Legislative Liaison at the State Capitol in Oklahoma City.


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September 2013

So you’ve taken all the classes, you’ve filled out the necessary paperwork and received your carry concealed card. Now what? Well, you carry your firearm and you hope the day never comes when you’ll have to use it to defend yourself or someone else.

I don’t have to tell you that the bad guys are out there, waiting for their next unsuspecting victim. You hear about it on the news every day. There isn’t any place that is safe from the bad guys. They don’t respect the law. They have no concept of the sanctity of life and they won’t have a second thought about spilling blood in their quest for whatever it is they want.

Those of us in law enforcement know that the people who take the time, trouble and expense to get a concealed carry license are the good guys. So don’t worry when you get pulled over by a law enforcement officer. Remember to tell us that you have a concealed carry license and present it if asked. Just don’t try to show us your firearm and you’ll be alright. Most law enforcement officers will engage you in conversation about what firearm you have and where it is located in your vehicle. We typically won’t ask you to show it to us or ask you to disarm yourself before you come back to our patrol cars. I can’t speak for every law enforcement officer, but that’s how I usually conduct traffic stops with an individual with a CCL.

In the mean time, keep your eyes peeled. Stay alert, stay alive!


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Freedom Isn't Free
July 2013

Our American independence was fought and won at a very high price. And each year we celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July. Some people across our country will choose to celebrate by shooting off fireworks, attending parades, family cookouts and some will celebrate by consuming alcoholic beverages. Unfortunately, those same people may choose to drive a motorized vehicle.

One of the many blessings of living in the United States of America is the ability to choose where you go, what you do, how and who you worship. It’s called “Freedom.” We often take it for granted and forget the price that was paid to obtain it. Freedom, by definition, is simply the lack of restrictions. However, to maintain freedom there must be restrictions or laws on behavior, otherwise anarchy would rule. Everyone would do what they wanted without limitations or repercussions. I often tell people that their rights end where someone else’s rights begin. It’s true. Think of it as boundaries or a good, sturdy fence. You’ve no doubt heard that a good fence makes good neighbors. This applies to the Rules of the Road and criminal laws as well.

To put it into a law enforcement perspective, consider this, a person may choose to consume alcoholic beverages, but that right ends when that person decides to operate a motor vehicle (be it a boat or a car.) They can exercise their right to drink until they pass out, but they do not have the right to take everyone else’s right to life and liberty away by driving a car or a boat while intoxicated. Drinking and driving kills more people every year world-wide than heart disease and cancer combined. There are more drunk drivers on the road and on the water today than ever before. Drunk and buzzed driving is an epidemic. It crosses all social, racial and economic barriers. Consider this, drunk driving costs the United States $132 billion a year. It affects everyone; from your health insurance, life insurance, auto insurance rates to overall hospital and healthcare costs and every day in America, 27 people die from drunk driving crashes.

For something that is 100% preventable, we consider this an atrocity and an injustice to the freedoms the United States was founded upon.

As you make your plans for the upcoming American Independence Day or 4th of July, we hope that you’ll stop to consider what freedoms you’re willing to give up if you choose to drive drunk or impaired. You could be choosing to give up all of your freedoms. You could get arrested or worse, you could lose your life or steal away that of another.

Please celebrate American Independence Day responsibly by selecting a sober, designated driver or making other plans so that you don’t lose the freedom of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Happy Independence Day, America. God bless the USA!

Statistics for the above article were used from web sites of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, M.A.D.D. Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Victim’s Impact Panel of Oklahoma and the New England Journal of Medicine.


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February 2013

February is my most favorite time of year. Why, you ask? Valentine’s Day, of course!

No, it isn’t because of romance, roses or chocolate. I love Valentine’s Day because of the general happiness and sense of love and well-being that radiates on the faces of little people. 

No other class of humans can share and communicate love like children can. Those of us in law enforcement cherish children’s hugs and high fives. We see the eager light in kid’s eyes as they question us about everything; including our uniform, gun belt, hair styles, pistols and patrol cars. Knowing that children look up to us, expecting us to do the right thing, all of the time, helps us to keep our focus and remember that long-ago “child-like” faith in the guy wearing the white hat.

I recall, as a kid, playing Cops and Robbers. I’d cry if forced to be the “bad guy.” No one wanted to play the part of the villain, especially me. I wanted to save the day, save the damsel (sexist, I know) and save the world. Sadly, law enforcement isn’t really like that. The first few years of being a “gun slinger,” I was fairly depressed at how seldom the “good guys” actually won. Often, we show up too late, too soon or not at all. We are constantly lied to, verbally abused and seldom trusted. We’ve heard that we cost people their time, their money, their happiness, their freedom and sometimes, their lives.

But every once in a while…especially around the holidays and definitely around Valentine’s Day, we relive our childhood days by being the hero/heroine in some child’s eyes. We are rewarded with a hug, fist bump or elbow tap (thanks to the flu bug) and if we’re lucky, a conversation heart that simply says, “I love you!”


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