Index of Articles
Kye and the K-9 Unit
On August 24th, Oklahoma City Police responded to a burglary in progress call in SE Oklahoma City. The 9-1-1 caller gave an excellent description of the suspect’s car as the burglar drove away. Officers in the area quickly spotted the car. The suspect refused to pull over and a pursuit ensued. The chase went south on I-35, where a Highway Patrol trooper performed a TVI (Tactical Vehicle Intervention), causing the suspect to spin-out near the Goldsby exit, south of Norman. The suspect, Mark Salazar, fled from the crashed car and ran west toward some businesses on the service road. SSgt. Ryan Stark, who was one of the police officers in the pursuit, released his K-9 partner Kye to apprehend the fleeing suspect. Unfortunately, this confrontation led to the deaths of the K-9, Kye (stabbed to death) and the suspect, Mark Salazar (shot to death).
Kye was born in Belgium on April 15, 2011. He began training with SSgt. Stark in July of 2012, and the two hit the streets together October 30, 2012. Kye was responsible for 55 apprehensions and the recovery of 250 grams of methamphetamines, 17 grams of cocaine and 92 grams of marijuana.
Although this confrontation between Kye and the burglary suspect ended tragically, it is the extreme exception to the rule. In fact, Kye was the first Oklahoma City Police K-9 killed in the line of duty by a suspect. In the vast majority of cases like this, the dog completes a successful apprehension, with the suspect requiring no more than a few stitches for dog bites.
These police dogs and their handlers spend months training, preparing to work together as partners. These dogs are not pets. Although they are legally classified as equipment, they are viewed by police officers as fellow officers. Many of the K-9s receive highly specialized training, such as sniffing out bombs and explosives, locating cadavers under piles of debris, drug searches, building searches, etc… Kye was also a member of the Oklahoma City Police Tactical Unit (SWAT Team). This means that when the Tactical Unit trained for high risk situations, Kye trained with them.
With Kye gone, the Oklahoma City Police Department now has eight K-9s. Most work late night shifts, as that is when they are most needed. K-9s are an integral part of what we do as police officers and our job would be infinitely more difficult and dangerous without them.
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Oklahoma School Security Institute
The Oklahoma School Security Institute (OSSI) was created by the Oklahoma State Legislature in the spring of 2013, after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut. They officially became a division of the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security (OKOHS) on July 01, 2013.
The OSSI acts as the central repository for public, private and technology schools in the state. Schools can contact OSSI for information on resources to enhance school security and assess risks and threats to school campuses. We encourage schools to work from an all-hazards approach.
Our goals and objectives include, but are certainly not limited to:
- Maximizing school security training and support to public and private primary and secondary schools, as well as technology centers. We know that schools are short on funds and time, we provide all training for free and at times that are convenient for schools;
- Assisting and supporting school administrators as needed in the development and implementation of safety drills. The law that created OSSI added two intruder drills to the drills that schools are required to conduct. We work with schools to maximize the effectiveness of the required drills;
- Facilitating efforts of public and private elementary and secondary schools and technology centers to utilize any available programs and entities specializing in security issues. We have the ability to bring the training to the schools;
- Creating and coordinating working groups in order to continue developing and implementing new strategies and techniques for future recommendations on school security issues. The staff of OSSI understands how important it is to listen to the needs of schools.
OSSI not only works with schools but also emergency responders as well as emergency managers. School security is everyone’s job.
Another important aspect of OSSI is our Tip Line. The toll free number is 1-855-337-8300. Or, a tip can be made through our website at www.tipline.ok.gov
. Studies of past acts of school violence have shown that people knew about the incident before it occurred. The Tip Line allows people to anonymously report possible threats to faculty, staff and students. The Tip Line is monitored 24 hours per day. The information would be shared with the appropriate school district and law enforcement agency.
I retired from the Norman Police Department after over 21 years as a police officer to become the program manager for OSSI. I enjoyed working with the Norman Public Schools during my career. To have the opportunity to work with schools statewide and assist them with keeping their faculty, staff and students safe was a perfect next step for me.
I have two full-time staff members. Gary Shelton retired from the Norman Police Department after 24 years. He had extensive experience in building partnerships which is vital for the success of OSSI. Gary Rudick retired from the Tulsa Police Department to become the Chief of Police in Durant. He then moved back to Tulsa to become the first police chief of the Tulsa Public Schools Police Department. He built it from the ground up. He retired shortly before accepting the regional representative position with OSSI. Through his years of experience with law enforcement and building a campus police department, he brings critical relationships to our office.
We understand that our children are our most precious asset. OSSI will be working with schools, emergency responders and emergency managers to ensure that school faculty and staff can work and teach in the safest environment possible and our students can learn in an environment where they feel safe.
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How Not to Be a Victim
Many women don’t realize just how vulnerable they are going about their daily activities. Going to work, taking a walk, going grocery shopping…they all seem like pretty mundane activities. What ladies don’t typically think about is how they can become a crime victim while carrying out activities like these.
Don’t get me wrong, I never want to make people unnecessarily fear for their safety. I do, however want them to realize that there are bad guys out there who are looking for their next easy target to victimize. Just remembering a few basic safety tips could help keep you from becoming a victim.
First and most importantly, be aware of your surroundings. How often do you see people glued to their cell phones…texting or talking…completely oblivious to what’s going on around them? I mention cell phones because in today’s day and age it seems to be one of the more prevalent distractions. If I’m a criminal lurking in the grocery store parking lot LOOKING for my next victim, who will I choose…the woman with her head down, digging in her purse for keys, talking on her phone or the confident-looking woman with her head up scanning the area around her? Makes sense, right?
Next, do not be oblivious to warning signs/non-verbal facial cues a potential attacker may send out. Know WHAT to pay attention to. Research has shown that criminals do NOT choose their victims randomly. Most often they choose people who unknowingly send out signals that they’re an easy target. The woman I mentioned above…talking on her cell phone and digging in her purse…looks vulnerable and to a criminal like someone who could be easily controlled. I can tell you that there’s something to walking with confidence, looking around and even making eye contact with those you pass (because the criminal is definitely sizing you up as he looks at you). I can tell you that it’s something that I practice wherever I go. I want a potential attacker to know that I’m sizing him up…that I saw exactly what he looks like…and know where he is at all times.
Finally, change up your routine. Often times, predators will watch their intended target for several days/weeks before striking. They do this so they will know when/where to attack. If a mom leaves her house at the exact same time every day, drives the exact same route to her kid’s school, takes her lunch break at the same time every day, etc. it becomes a very predictable pattern. Try to change up your routine in little ways as often as you can.
Following these tips won’t guarantee that you will never become a crime victim, but it will absolutely reduce the likelihood that it will happen. As always, we encourage anyone who sees something suspicious or finds themselves feeling uneasy in a particular situation to call police.
Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow
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OKCPD Citizen Alert
Over the past year I have talked about the Oklahoma City Police Department's Citizen Alert program. I encourage everyone to sign up for this program, which alerts you via Email when a crime has been committed. From my perspective it gives us a heads up of what to watch out for...even if you don't live in the OKC PD district (I don't), you probably are there while out and about. I recently asked MSgt. Gary Knight about the Citizen Alert program from their perspective and he was kind enough to provide the below article. He is in the same office with Sgt. Jennifer Wardlow who has spoken for Girls Day Out. Both Sgt. Wardlow and MSgt. Knight are the ones you'll see talking about crimes on the news which occur in the Oklahoma City PD jurisdiction. Tammy
The Oklahoma City Police Department began developing the Citizen Alert Program in late 2003. It took a couple of years to get the program online and available to the public. The idea behind Citizen Alert was to give us – the police department – an avenue by which to get our message out to the public without going strictly through the media. Don’t get me wrong; the media has its place and they have certainly helped us on many cases. However, when we go through the media, our message tends to get filtered due to the stories being edited. Citizen Alert allows us to communicate directly to the public any time of the day or night without that media filter in place.
One of the most popular things we do with Citizen Alert is post crime videos and suspect photographs. Human beings are visual in nature and these types of postings tend to have a high number of views.
I am occasionally asked why it takes so long to get some videos and photos posted. There are several answers to this. Often an investigator will try to solve the case through other means before going to the public with the crime video. There are certain advantages to this approach, one of which is the suspect(s) usually doesn’t realize that we have a video recording of their participation in a crime. Once a suspect knows this, they will sometimes flee and/or destroy evidence.
There are also many businesses in our city – particularly convenience stores – that have policies against releasing crime videos to the police department. The fear is that if the video is released, their business will be viewed as unsafe and customers will go elsewhere. We are usually able to convince their corporate attorneys to release the video, but only after we have edited it to the point that the store cannot be identified.
With that being said, there are also times when we try to get information out on a crime immediately after it happens. A crime of a sexual nature is a good example of this type of information release. A sex crime detective will often try to have a composite sketch of a suspect made as soon as possible. Once they have the sketch in hand, it is usually delivered to the Public Information Office the same day for release to the public.
Citizen Alert is a quick and easy way to keep up with information from the police department. Sign-up is easy. Simply go to www.okc.gov/citizenalert
and follow the on-screen instructions. The men and women of the Oklahoma City Police Department strive to make our community as safe as humanly possible. If you ever need us, please don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1.
MSgt. Gary Knight
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