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Federal Authorities, TPD Announce Initiative to Go after Illegal Guns


Federal authorities announced a new initiative on Tuesday to help Tulsa crack down on illegal guns.

Modeled after the U.S. Department of Justice’s Project Guardian, the 2150 Initiative will help the U.S. Attorney’s Office; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and Tulsa Police work together to track down guns that have made it into the hands of people who shouldn’t have them, like convicted felons and people with mental health–related prohibitions.

The initiative is named for fallen TPD Sgt. Craig Johnson, whose badge number was 2150. The man charged with his murder, David Ware, also faces a charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

ATF Assistant Director of Field Operations Tom Chittum said as part of the initiative, a Tulsa K-9 officer is being trained on how to recover ballistic evidence at the agency's Virginia facility.

"With this increased ballistic evidence, the likelihood of making connections between crimes grows, and that gives investigators a bigger universe of leads to pursue to find those who are responsible," Chittum said.

TPD will also get two additional gun task force officers, and there will be greater information sharing among the agencies involved. Chief Wendell Franklin said the 2150 initiative is a fitting tribute for Johnson.

"Memorials are great. They do memorialize our lived ones, but they are static. They stand still. This initiative is action," Franklin said.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma said it’s received 30 indictments for illegal firearm possession since July. Of those, 23 involved convicted felons.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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