TULSA - He never expected it to happen, but a Tulsa police sergeant has become something of a TV star over the last year or so.
Sgt. Sean Larkin is the dayside supervisor for the TPD gang unit, part of the Special Operations Division, and has been with the department for nearly 21 years.
When the A&E Network show Live PD came to Tulsa he caught the eye of producers, so when TPD pulled out of the show, they asked Larkin to come to New York and appear on the show as an analyst.
He tells KRMG he has no plans to leave his full-time job on the police force, and as a single dad he has plenty of irons in the fire.
But the producers were willing to work with him on scheduling, and during one of his trips to New York, he was asked to go on FOX and Friends to talk about Live PD.
Next thing he knew, FOX News was calling him to ask about coming on the network to answer questions.
“By pure luck, it kind of turned into this,” Larkin told KRMG Monday. “FOX News has reached out to me I think four or five other times now, kind of providing my opinion, some analytical type things from a law enforcement perspective on, unfortunately, a tragedy that’s happened across the country. So I’ve spoken about the deal in Las Vegas a few times, now about the shooting down in Texas, and even about a gentleman who killed I believe four subjects down in Pennsylvania a few months ago.”
So after the church massacre in Texas, his phone rang.
And while he had no problem going on live with the national news network, he did some homework first - consulting with the lead agent with the BATF in Tulsa (a former TPD officer whom he’s known for years) and made sure he had accurate information.
But he’s not afraid to say he doesn’t have the answers when it comes to the ongoing proliferation of mass shootings.
“There’s not a flat answer. I think there are a lot of issues that have led up to these things happening, or that continue to happen,” he said. “Obviously there’s something that needs to be done mental health wise... something as far as access to firearms.”
But, he doesn’t want to get caught up in the debate over gun control.
All he knows is what he sees on the street.
“I deal with gang members, day in and day out, that shouldn’t have guns. And the Tulsa Police Gang Unit, here in the calendar year of 2017, we’ve recovered - just our gang unit alone - over 310 firearms. Those are guns we’ve taken from people that should not have guns. Over 310 right now. We’re getting those from 14, 15-year-old juveniles, to 25-year-olds that have served time for robbery or shooting before already. People can get their hands on firearms, and if they’ve got the fortitude to want to go out and inflict harm, they’re going to do it.”
Again, he doesn’t pretend to know the solution.
As he says, “that’s the difficult question. How do we as American citizens figure out a way to - you know, we’re never going to stop it - but to at least to slow this down, because it’s incredible.”