Orange Pride: OSU-Tulsa Police Department
It takes a team effort to provide a safe environment for teaching and learning. This summer, the officers and staff at the OSU-Tulsa Police Department faced a challenge unlike any they had experienced before as OSU-Tulsa was at the center of a series of events that drew thousands of visitors to the Greenwood District several times in the span of only a few weeks.
An individual OSU-Tulsa employee usually is awarded the Orange Pride Award for Employee Excellence. However, thanks to their tireless efforts this summer, the entire OSU-Tulsa Police Department was honored.
“It’s hard to ask someone to put in more time when they already worked their hours,” said OSU-Tulsa Police Captain Michael Galbraith. “But when my team sees the need and they don’t hesitate to say, ‘I’ll be here’ – to me that goes above and beyond.”
The OSU-Tulsa Police Department is operational 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Even on holidays, an officer is always on duty.
From May to June 2021, OSU-Tulsa police officers went the extra mile by working extended shifts with additional duties such as increased surveillance, monitoring street closures, patrolling buildings and cooperating with other law enforcement agencies to effectively manage three different multi-day events.
The Certified Piedmontese IRONMAN Tulsa triathlon was the first major event on campus, just a few weeks after OSU-Tulsa’s spring graduation ceremony. OSU-Tulsa served as the transition location between the biking and running portions of the triathlon, which attracted thousands of participants and spectators to Tulsa.
With the centennial anniversary of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre just over a week later, a series of events commemorating the massacre kept the department busy. Throughout, officers worked 12-hour days and committed to extra shifts, with Capt. Galbraith working extended shifts 15 days in a row. After a couple weeks of recovery, the force ramped again up to cover the five-day Tulsa Juneteenth Festival and the week of events leading up to it. The festival was reported to be the largest in the nation, with more than 53,000 in attendance from around the country.
“We do everything we can to prevent a police incident on campus in the first place,” Capt. Galbraith said. “For those three big events, that goal was met: There wasn’t a single reported incident on campus.”
For a department of only five officers, working large events like these is virtually impossible without assistance from other agencies.
“As a small department, there’s no way we could do it all by ourselves. We have to rely on our partners to accomplish things like setting up barricades and having contact at those intersections to direct traffic. We lean on those important partnerships with OSU Stillwater, the Tulsa Police Department and others to get these big jobs done.”
On June 1, in the middle of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre centennial events – already a busy week for OSU-Tulsa Police – President Joe Biden made a surprise visit to Tulsa to tour the Greenwood Cultural Center, which neighbors OSU-Tulsa. With the president so close to campus, OSU-Tulsa was firmly in the security perimeter – and also a convenient location for the United States Secret Service to operate during the visit.
Luckily for Capt. Galbraith, he was familiar with how to handle presidential visits after OSU Stillwater hosted President George W. Bush on two separate occasions. Referring to that experience helped things go smoothly with the Secret Service.
“We had a feeling of what the Secret Service was going ask for, and what they needed. Having those things in place made everyone’s job easier,” Capt. Galbraith said.
Cooperation and coordination with the federal agency went so smoothly that they also granted the OSU-Tulsa Police an award for their efforts – the Secret Service Communications Award.
“They were very impressed by the infrastructure we had in place,” Capt. Galbraith said. “Keep in mind, the Secret Service travels all over the United States and all over the world, so that recognition means a lot to us.”
To recommend an OSU-Tulsa staff member for the Orange Pride award, complete a nomination form. Orange Pride recipients are selected quarterly and receive a framed certificate and $100.
Media Contact: Aaron Campbell | 918-594-8046 | firstname.lastname@example.org