After the double homicide last month in Chamberlain Park, community leaders started planning for ways private security could help police patrol high crime areas in North Tulsa.
State Senator Kevin Matthews (D) reached out to Dean Finley, owner of North Star Security. Finley grew up just blocks from Chamberlain Park and said his armed guards are stationed at many businesses throughout the North Tulsa area. He said right now, guards make unscheduled patrols but he, Matthews and local organizations are creating plans and raising funds for more scheduled patrols.
"I sympathize with police. I see the situation they are in," Finley said.
The double homicide in June at Chamberlain Park was disturbing to the community. Meshawna Jones and Markey Goff were shot and killed in an SUV. Young children were left with bodies for hours before they were discovered. Though a suspect has been arrested in connection with the deaths, it was those murders that sparked action from community leaders.
"[People] tell us before they call the police themselves. That's one thing when you are in security, a lot of people don't want to call the police themselves," Finley said.
Finely said many of his officers are from the same streets they now patrol. Guards like Damian Brown, who served in the military before returning to Tulsa.
"We don't run in to too many problems. We are more or less a deterrent," Brown said.
"I think when you have people that are raised here, we have an interest. We have a vested interest in what's going on in this community," Finley said.
Finley said they are a deterrent to crime, but not a replacement for police. Finley is quick to point out– they work hand and hand with officers.
"I tell my guys, 'If there is a crime being committed, you are going to call the police,'" he said.
In fact, Finley said his guards are often witnesses to crimes– even testifying in court. He said often his armed guards are monitoring crimes and acting as an extra set of eyes for police, while hoping to add to peace of mind for the community.
"It makes people feel a little bit safer. We believe just being there at least they can come say, 'Hey, this is my issue this is happening assist us can you assist us?" he said.
State senator Matthews is working with North Star to set up those patrol schedules. They hope to announce a start date for them soon.
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