Domestic violence happens every day, but it isn’t always talked about. On Wednesday, the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office invited News 9 on a warrant sweep to spotlight the devastating effect these crimes have on the community. It’s part of the annual “National Family Violence Apprehension Detail”.
Teams of seven went out together to serve more than 70 warrants in Oklahoma County. They surrounded the houses, and looked out for each other’s safety.
“We don’t know what is going on inside that house, so yes, that makes it very, very dangerous for us,” said Sergeant Mark Johns. He is part of the Warrant Fugitive Team with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.
Sometimes, there is no one home when they are attempting to serve the warrant. Other times, it can be confrontational. He said every day people are running or hiding from deputies to avoid going to jail. It’s hit or miss.
On Wednesday, the day started before 7:00 in the morning. After two hours, there were several misses, but the team News 9 followed made their first arrest of the day. The first suspect was cooperative. There were at least seven warrants out for her arrest, including several fines.
The next house, however, was not as easy. The man inside the home was avoiding the sheriff’s department. Neighbors told officers that they knew someone was home because all the vehicles were in the driveway.
Deputy Sheriff Jimmy Gillespie was one of the seven on scene. He entered through an open window out back. As soon as he entered the house, we heard screaming, “Come on out here. I got a suspect! Don’t move! Let me see your hands!”
Sergeant Mark Johns peered from outside through the window and drew his weapon as a precaution.
Eventually, the two people in the home cooperated, including the suspect who was taken away in handcuffs. The second person in the home was the girlfriend, who is the victim of domestic abuse.
Sergeant Johns said the most concerning part of domestic violence is that victims often go back to those who hurt them.
Johns said, “She should have never come back here. Don’t ever come back to the person that was abusing you in any way.”
He said that’s why these warrant sweeps are so important to put criminals away and protect the public.
Warrants served Wednesday included domestic violence crimes of harassment, assault, burglary, restraining order violations, stalking order violations, non-payment of child support, child abuse, elder abuse, and more.
In 2015, the Oklahoma County Warrant team made 28 arrests for domestic violence during the detail. News 9 is waiting for the total number of arrests for Wednesday’s event.