The Norman Transcript

April 4, 2014

Crime briefs

The Norman Transcript

NORMAN — School lockdown

Highland East Middle School in Moore was on lockdown for about 30 minutes Thursday morning after police received a report involving shots fired in a nearby neighborhood.

Sgt. Jeremy Lewis said a man claimed another man had jumped his fence with a gun, so he fired at the trespasser, at which point the trespasser ran off.

“There was no evidence of what happened,” Lewis said.

Moore Public Schools Public Information Officer Jimi Fleming said the lockdown was just a precaution.

Propane explosion

The Norman Fire Department and EMSStat responded to a burn or explosion at 5:42 p.m. Wednesday at 3000 E. Robinson St. after a propane tank exploded.

Police Capt. Tom Easley said a man had been welding when a propane tank exploded on him. The man tried to drive himself to the hospital but couldn’t make it, Easley said.

According to records, the reporting party said they were stopped by a female in the middle of the road asking for an ambulance, saying her son had his legs burned, Easley said. The man was reported to be in a truck on the side of the road near the water treatment plant.

The fire department treated the man’s injuries for about 10 minutes, Deputy Fire Chief Jim Bailey said.

Norman Regional Hospital spokesperson Kelly Wells said the man was transported by EMSStat to the Integris Baptist Medical Center’s burn unit.

Officials have not identified the man and his condition remains unknown.

Pool of trooper candidates may expand

A measure changing the qualifications to become a commissioned officer in the state Department of Public Safety easily passed, 96-0, Thursday out of the House.

Senate Bill 1372 amends previous language on the listed requirements needed to become a trooper for the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. It lowers the minimum hiring age from 23 to 21. It also modifies other requirement language pertaining to education and prior law enforcement/military service.

“This is a vital measure for the safety of Oklahomans,” said Rep. John Echols, the House author of SB 1372. “Right now, we have a small pool of candidates for important positions within DPS. That’s almost entirely because our current listed qualifications for becoming a state trooper are too narrow and constricting.

“We need to create a wider pool from which to hire so we can keep Oklahomans safe on the roads and in their communities.”

The measure strikes out current language requiring troopers to have completed an associate’s or bachelor’s degree to be eligible.

New language updates the law to read that candidates can be eligible having completed 30 semester hours in college and three years of military service, or 32 completed college credits and any length of military service.

Also, applicants with prior military service will receive up to 10 semester hours as an equivalent for each year of honorable service in any active or reserve military capacity.

“Right now, Oklahoma is missing out on a lot of otherwise well-qualified candidates because of arbitrary benchmarks that a lot of people couldn’t meet because life took them somewhere other than college,” said Echols, R-Oklahoma City. “That should not be held against them, especially those who decided to serve our nation right out of high school and never went to college but are now done serving in the military and looking for a great career. These people would bring a wealth of military knowledge and training to the field, but right now are not eligible.

“This bill ensures Oklahoma doesn’t prematurely disqualify these potential candidates just because they either didn’t attend college or didn’t finish for one reason or another.”

–– By Jessica Bruha, Transcript Staff Writer

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