By Carol Mowdy Bond
Residents of Surrey Hills and its surrounding and swelling subdivisions deal with an interesting situation when it comes to law enforcement. Surrey Hills is within the city limits of Oklahoma City, but residents have Yukon mailing addresses. So, the Oklahoma City Police Department is responsible for law enforcement in the area. And area residents are keeping social media threads active these days, with reports of car thefts, and someone breaking into homes, and even physical attacks.
Sgt. Megan Morgan, the Assistant Public Information Officer for the Oklahoma City Police Department, said the Oklahoma City Police Department’s Hefner Division, located at 3924 Northwest 122nd in Oklahoma City, is the station that responds to law enforcement needs in Surrey Hills and its surrounding areas.
Morgan said, “If residents have questions about response time, or issues related to a particular call, they should call dispatch and request to speak with a supervisor. Calls are prioritized based on their level of urgency. Therefore, the highest priority calls would be those in which a person’s life or welfare could be in jeopardy, such as first-degree burglary, shooting, domestic-related incident in progress, serious injury accidents, medical assistance calls, etc. Also high on the list would be a crime in progress, second-degree burglary, auto burglary, or vandalism) where the suspect is still on scene. A dispatcher will walk a caller through the information they need in order to best prioritize the call. They are trained to ask the right questions for the calls.”
Morgan said, “When a call is made into 911 from a cell phone, the call connects to the closest available tower. Unfortunately, sometimes that means the call may connect to a tower in another city, so you will reach that city’s 911 call center. This is particularly an issue in locations like Surrey Hills where you live on the border between two cities. A couple of recommendations include: if you have a land line, please call 911 when possible from that number. That number will automatically go to the correct 911 center. The other recommendation is that if you call 911 from a cell phone, please immediately advise the call taker that you reside in Oklahoma City, and provide your address. If you do that up front our system will automatically tell us which city you reside in, to get you into touch with the appropriate agency.”
If a crime or emergency is actively occurring, has occurred, or is suspected of happening, that is the time to call 911. Morgan said, “When in doubt, we would prefer for citizens to err on the side of caution and call 911. Dispatch has advised they encourage citizens to call 911 rather than the non-emergency number for any police-related response. They are trained to prioritize calls as they come in, and the same dispatchers answer both the emergency and non-emergency lines.”
“We encourage citizens to call and report any type of crime or suspicious activity so we can investigate and hopefully help to deter and prevent future crime,” said Morgan.
Referring to community watch programs, Morgan said, “Our department has established ‘Police Community Relations’ programs in each of the four divisions manned by commissioned police officers. They are available to speak with members and leaders of our community to help educate citizens on creating these programs. I would encourage any citizens or organization interested in creating this type of program to reach out to the division they reside in (maps and contact information available on our website). We are continuously working on establishing trust with members of our community. Members of our department are constantly working toward this mission through town halls, public forums, and social media (just to name a few outlets). We are always open to suggestions though, and encourage any citizen with questions to reach out. Social media has become an invaluable tool for a quick response to police-related questions and suggestions.”
Citizens can always make use of the OKC Police Department’s Crime Stoppers tip line at (405) 235-7300. Morgan said, “Anonymously reporting drug activity, information on ongoing criminal activity, or location information on known fugitives is exactly what the Crime Stoppers program was created for, and we encourage citizens to report that information. Unless, of course, an active emergency is occurring at which time we would ask citizens to please call 911. We rely on citizens to be our eyes and ears in the communities they live in, but we want them to feel safe reporting this type of activity which is exactly what the tip line was created for.”
“There is also a mobile app available, and a website: OKCCrimeTips.com,” said Morgan. “Citizens can leave tips in an anonymous capacity. The tips are sent to our Crime Stoppers Manager (a commissioned officer) who determines the most appropriate division, unit, or individual to handle each tip and forwards the information appropriately.”
“However, with regard to reporting crimes which are occurring, we encourage citizens to call 911,” said Morgan. “The tip line is an incredibly useful tool, but does not create an official police report the same way calling 911 and speaking with an officer does.”
For purposes of any type physical attacks on an individual, Morgan said, “The definition of assault and battery, per SS 21-641: An assault is any willful and unlawful attempt or offer with force or violence to do a corporal hurt to another. Per SS 21-642: A battery is any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another.”
“We want to help prevent criminal activity in all areas within our community,” said Morgan.
“The only way this is accomplished is through a cooperative effort between police and the community we serve.” Morgan said she hopes citizens will reach out to the police with any questions, and she hopes citizens will trust the police and report issues. “Our Police Department’s social media is a GREAT way for citizens to reach out with questions and concerns. Please bear in mind social media should not be used as a substitute for calling 911 to report emergencies and crimes.”