On Saturday, Feb. 9, two police officers were shot at a Del City Wal-Mart by a man released on two Own Recognizance (OR) bonds. The Oklahoma Bondsman Association released a statement regarding the incident earlier this week.
“Over the weekend, two Oklahoma police officers – one Del City officer and an off-duty officer from Amber – were involved in a shooting at a local Wal-Mart. Thankfully, both police officers survived the shooting and are recovering from their injuries.
The shooter, who has since been identified, had a lengthy criminal history, including multiple felony charges, but had recently been released from jail on two Own Recognizance (OR) bonds. A man who had previously committed numerous crimes against fellow Oklahomans, who should have been behind bars, was allowed to go freely back into our community by simply signing a paper stating he “promised” he would show up to court.
This unfortunate situation demonstrates the negative ramifications hasty pre-trial release (PTR) efforts can have on public safety. When defendants are not held accountable, they re-enter society, causing the re-victimization of our communities while also creating dangerous situations for our law enforcement. This revolving door of criminality not only puts the burden on our already overwhelmed law enforcement, but also decreases the safety of our communities and fails to protect those who are victims of crime.
Some proposed legislation this session seeks to increase the use of PTR efforts, like OR bonds, which will have a dramatic impact on the judicial system as situations like this become more and more common. While we support educated criminal justice reforms needed to help our neighbors struggling with addiction, we hope that this situation shines a light on how ineffective and dangerous certain PTR efforts can be when used incorrectly.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the officers involved in this heinous act. We are sincerely thankful that they were able to return home to their loved ones and appreciate their dedication to protecting their fellow Oklahomans.
We have and will always support our law enforcement and the public we work to protect. We hope the Oklahoma Legislature will take this situation to heart and do the same.”
– Raymond Merrill, president of the Oklahoma Bondsman Association