'Punishment Is For Accountability': Tulsa's Crime Strategy Unit Focuses On Repeat Offenders

The Tulsa County District Attorney's Office has rolled out a new unit this year that focuses on going after repeat offenders and career criminals to ensure they don't get away with a slap on the wrist.

Monday, December 4th 2023, 5:30 pm



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The Tulsa County District Attorney's Office has rolled out a new unit this year that focuses on going after repeat offenders and career criminals to ensure they don't get away with a slap on the wrist.

Prosecutors in the Crime Strategy Unit primarily handle cases where a person has three or more prior felony convictions and try to get them harsher sentences.

Prosecutors say the unit has two goals: keep the community and victims safe and send a message to repeat offenders that whether they are committing property crimes or violent crimes, they won't get to skate by.

Jerry Truster and Luke Thompson are the two-man team who make up the Crime Strategy Unit, ensuring career criminals are held accountable.

"Day-to-day work includes trying to review the booking sheets at the jail, reviewing the bond docket every day, trying to pick up on people that perhaps in the past have fallen through the cracks, that are sitting there with five, 10, 15 felony conviction,” said Assistant Tulsa County DA Luke Thompson.

Truster and Thompson have worked 110 cases since January and resolved more than 40 of those, with most people being imprisoned.

If someone is arrested or charged with a crime and they have prior felony convictions, Truster and Thompson take over the case from start to finish.

They use those prior convictions to try to enhance a person’s sentence whether the case ends in a plea or jury trial.

"Punishment is not a four-letter word. Punishment is there for accountability. We want to put these people away because they have no qualms about stealing from citizens and that type of thing, so punishment is foremost in our minds,” said ADA Truster.

News On 6 recently told you about Melissa Sweet, who has been arrested five times since September for property crimes and has been charged with more than 20 felonies.

She doesn't have prior felony convictions, but CSU has taken over her cases because she’s accused of repeatedly victimizing people.

"I think property crimes can often fall by the wayside, perhaps not by any intention of our prosecutors, sometimes they get less attention. But they are important and affect people in the community,” said Thompson.

The unit handles all crimes whether it’s property crimes or violent crimes.

"We want to protect the public, we are here to represent the victims of crime,” Truster said.

Thompson and Truster say victims and law enforcement have said they appreciate that there's now special attention on these cases.

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