TULSA, Okla. — Tulsa's best known cop has turned in his gear and retired from the Tulsa Police Department to focus on new career goals. With a new book being published in June, 2021 and a new podcast, Lt. Sean "Sticks" Larkin said the new opportunities are making it easier to leave the career he's been dedicated to since he was 23.
"It was just the right place at the right time, very, very fortunate," Larkin told 2 News anchor Karen Larsen.
Larkin spent years focused on gang criminal activity and getting guns off the streets of Tulsa. Then, the producers of "Live PD" called. With its live element and audience interaction through Twitter, he quickly became a celebrity.
"The show was, you know, it was the number one cable television shows like 2.1 million viewers every episode," Larkin said. "So, when somebody sees me. Yes, they recognize me from the show but they also know I'm a police officer, and they come up and talk to me. And the way I've always looked at it's like man that's a positive contact that person is having with a police officer. Because the fact is, the majority the time somebody is talking to the police, that's when something bad happened, whether they're being pulled over for driving violation, they're involved in traffic accident. they came home from work and their house was burglarized. It's always something bad that people call the police out for. So whether I'm out having dinner, I'm out with my guys at lunch, we're out on a call and citizens come up and talk to us, whatever it is they're coming up and talk to me because they've seen me on the show, but they still know I'm a cop and it's always a positive interaction."
More than 233,000 people follow Larkin on social media such as Twitter. At the height of the Live PD show's popularity, his fans even created Facebook pages dedicated to him.
"Some of the names have been pretty funny," Larkin said with a smile. "I think there was one called this one group called the Sticky Chicks because you know my nickname "Sticks." I think there was Larkin's ladies. So, there's, there's some pretty funny ones out there. I, to this day I have never been on Facebook in my entire life. I have still to this day, never been on it. My mom is in part of these, these groups. She's usually the one that updates me about things going on."
That celebrity and the opportunities it created, encouraged him to leave policing after 24 and a half years on the force.
"I don't want to look back in five or 10 years from now and go what if, what if I would have, you know, had the guts to step away from this job and try something different."
Lt. Larkin has the usual retirement plans involving travel and golf. In addition, he has already promised to assist local retired officers with tracking down leads in cold cases. At the same time, he has already launched a new venture with ___, a friend who is an ICU nurse and fellow bourbon collector. They came up with a podcast now named "COP-TALES."
"We started talking how fun would it be to have a podcast and we call it cocktails and cop-tales. So we, the two of us would sit down me on the police inside him not knowing anything about policing, and we will talk to cops, troopers sheriff's deputies and former convicts. Anybody that's kind of surrounded or touched the law enforcement world. It's not one of these serious deals where we're going to sit and let's break down what happened. It's a casual conversation about a serious profession," Larkin stated.
In addition, he has written a book that comes out next month about wrongly accused officers.
"In 2010, here in Tulsa, was a well documented police corruption investigation that went on. And my name as well as some other officers were thrown into it, and we hadn't done anything wrong. And here we are 11 years later, I was in a trial last week and that became one of the focal points during the trial was me being accused of doing something wrong, that I was never charged with. But it still gets thrown out there. And so I sympathize with anybody in any walk of life that has been falsely accused of something or falsely convicted of something." He added, "Some of them were just social media accusations that officers had to deal with. And so to have a series of vignettes, talking with these guys letting them tell their story and putting it down on paper and getting out to the public. I thnk what's going on in this country right now it's something important to say, 'Hey, we sympathize with others that are falsely accused, but it happens to us as well.'"
Larkin's other focus will be to continue the charitable work he has been doing for years in the Tulsa community. He is working with such groups as Best Buddies, which provides mentorship to special needs children and launched his own nonprofit last fall called STICKS Cares. The acronym is a play on Larkin's famous nickname and means Support The Inner City Kids.
"That's what we're using this STICKS for and we want to help donors that are out there. There are donors that they don't know how to donate. Essentially, where where's the best place to go? Where can you get the most bang for your buck? So we're looking to kind of be the middleman for them as well as help other nonprofits out there, how can they find funding that is out and about. The timing of it was very difficult because of kicking it off during the year of the pandemic the COVID. And so, a lot of people themselves financially aren't able to give like they typically would. I'm really looking to work on that throughout the year and try to help that that grow. I think you can make a big impact here in Tulsa and potentially outside of it," Larkin said.
As he retires from TPD, he knows it will be hard to leave his squad but the timing is right. Lt. Larkin outlined the message he planned to share with his colleagues on his last day at the department.
"This is a job. It's not your identity. It's a profession I love I've been, I've been semi good at, I guess, for 25 years. It has been good to me but now there's more to life outside of putting this uniform on every day."
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