|Updated: 10/11/2013 11:39 pm
||Published: 10/11/2013 11:37 pm
High-value targets are picked off not in Iraq and not in Afghanistan but in Tulsa.
FOX23 News has been investigating the number of shootings in Tulsa and found a military style approach is helping protect people in Green Country.
"A targeting system like that what they are doing in the military, going after their high-value targets," said Tulsa Police Organized Gang Unit Sgt. Sean Larkin.
Larkin said looking at the numbers year-to-date compared to the same time frame last year, in 2013 they investigated 150 aggravated assaults with a firearm, which is down 35 percent from 2012.
"A lot of manpower focusing at going after the violent criminals here in Tulsa," said Larkin.
The TPD gang unit and the Northern Oklahoma Violent Crimes Task Force have been working together since 2010 to aggressively target gang members carrying guns.
FOX23 News has profiled several gang members in the sweeps known as Operation Triple Beam and Operation 61 in conjunction with the U.S. Attorney's Office.
"The guys that are causing all the problems. The guys that when you turn on the news in the morning they see a shooting, a robbery that happened -- we are going after them for that," said Larkin.
He believes having known gang members arrested in these operations, such as Christopher “Quarter Top” Price, Isaiah Brown and Marquis Smith, who are still in federal or state prison, is one reason why aggravated assaults dipped so low this year.
Using a military approach, gang officers are going after known shooters for nonviolent crimes to keep the next shooting from happening in Tulsa.
"It didn't matter if they were into stealing cars, if it was credit card fraud or more commonly if they were selling drugs and catching guys with guns," said Larkin.
Officers also arrested Marquillon Glover, who is in prison for drugs and firearms and Ricky Shannon, who in jail facing drug and weapon charges.
Larkin said they are also targeting associates of known shooters.
"For every group of guys, there are usually only a couple of them who are bona-fide shooters or killers," said Larkin.
Who they target to catch the shooter could be the getaway driver in a crime, selling drugs or hiding the shooter.
"We identified that these were the guys that were causing problems. If we couldn't directly go after them for a case, we looked at who they surrounded themselves and we went after those people," said Larkin.
Gang members may be notorious for staying silent, but police said when they become a suspect that code is often broken.
"You catch them with a gun, one, we are taking that gun off the street. If we can get that guy to flip on who our shooters are, that works for us as well," said Larkin.
Of the 20 suspects FOX23 News profiled in the operations since 2010, half are in custody.