PD Stories Podcast: Sgt. Sticks Larkin Talks About Being on the Gang Unit | A&E

PD Stories Podcast: Sgt. Sticks Larkin Talks About Being on the Gang Unit | A&E

[music playing] INTERVIEWER: On today’s
episode of PD Stories, I’m interviewing someone
I know very well. Sergeant Sean Sticks Larkin
from the Tulsa PD gang unit. So when did you go
into the gang unit? SEAN LARKIN: I actually
applied for the gang unit as a young officer. I didn’t quite have my three
years on, and you know, I mentioned you have
to have three years on. I’d hoped they would have had
some special waiver for me or recognize my potential. It didn’t happen. INTERVIEWER: Why did
you want the gang unit? SEAN LARKIN: Man, it’s– I like the action. You know, I mean– I like that whole world. I like talking to those guys. You know, I like– I like the chase. You know, I’ve got 21 years on. Man, I still like
chasing these guys. So it’s just– you know,
that’s the personal side of it. I like the action.
I like the chase. The adrenaline of
that type of thing. But, you know, these guys that
we deal with here in Tulsa that associate criminal
street gangs, these are the guys that when people
turn on the news in the morning when they’re getting up,
having their cup of coffee, getting ready to go to work
and take their kids to school, and they see a robbery
that happen overnight or they see a shooting
that happen overnight– I mean, here– Honestly, last night at
1:30 in the morning my guys are texting me– my guys, meaning my officers
in Tulsa, some gangsters that we know we’re doing
a ATV burglary at a, you know, a ATV motorcycle shop. And four of the five guys
got caught, all four of them are gangsters that we deal
with on a regular basis. And so these are the guys that
are out there causing havoc, you know, for us in
the city of Tulsa. INTERVIEWER: Terrorizing
their own neighborhood. SEAN LARKIN: Exactly.
That is. You know, it’s a
small percentage of guys that are in these
communities that are doing. It’s the same people over
and over and over again. So I’m not saying all gang
members are like these type of guys, but there’s
just a small percentage of gang members that account for
the majority of violent crime. And so you know, I like
going after those guys and taking those guys
off the street to make, you know, the city of
Tulsa a safer place. INTERVIEWER: Tell me about
the basic daily activities of the gang unit. SEAN LARKIN: We’ve got
a squad of 15 officers, counting the supervisors. We’ve got a dog assigned to
us who’s just a narcotics dog. And our typical day
you kind of come in, you’ve got to handle your
administrative things. You’re checking
emails, you know, answering to the bosses,
the things they want done. Oftentimes, we’ve got
community requests. Either questions they have
or issues that they’re having as far as graffiti or,
you know, a problem at their business or
school that they think is associated with gangs. So we handle those
type of things. And beyond that it’s pretty much
all self initiated activity. Every guy that’s
selected for that unit, they have a reputation of being
to produce their own stats. They don’t need to
be told what to do. They don’t need the radio
dictating where they’re going to go or anything like that. And so if they’re not working
on an active informant or working on an active
shooting investigation that they’re during
follow up on– we ride two guys to a car,
sometimes three to a car, and they just get
out on the streets. And the whole goal is to
reduce violent crime there in the city of Tulsa,
make contact with as many people as possible, be visible. INTERVIEWER: Sticks, what
are the primary goals of the gang unit? SEAN LARKIN: Man, if– to give the general
generic statement, I guess, it’s to reduce violent
crime in the city of Tulsa. And kind of the way
we do that is we try to take the firearms
out of the hands of those that should not have them. We actually have a dry
erase board in our office that we keep track
of the number of guns recovered going back to 2008,
which is when I came in there. And that first year
in 2008 we recovered 63 guns in a calendar year. Our unit was a little
bit smaller at that time. The previous supervisor, they
were more focused on narcotics and money seizures. And you know, I kind of just
viewed it like, hey, supposed to stop the shootings,
the robberies, the murders from happening. How do we do that? You’ve got to take the guns
away from the guys that are out here doing those things. So we made this change in
going strictly after firearms. That’s what I cared about. I don’t care how much
dope you confiscate and put on the table. Doesn’t matter to me. Get a gangster with a gun. So we started making
that our focus, and actually last year our
gang unit recovered 355 guns. So you can see the difference
in the number of years. Every single year it’s pretty
much gone up for the most part. And the way I look at that, or
we view that, our department views that, is every
single one of those that we have taken away
out of the hands of someone that shouldn’t have it– that night it wasn’t
used in a shooting, it wasn’t used in a robbery,
it wasn’t used in a murder. And you know– even
though the city of Tulsa last year had 81
homicides, 82 the year before, which is
actually our record, you can only imagine how many
more shootings homicides that would have happened had
these guys not being taken away from these gangsters. INTERVIEWER: And a lot of
those guns come back as stolen from residences, right? SEAN LARKIN: Yes, that’s it. These guys aren’t the guys
that are walking into– INTERVIEWER: Doing
straw purchases? SEAN LARKIN: Dick’s
Sporting Goods and buying a gun themself, or
they’re not getting their girlfriends to go buy it. They’re not shown up at
the gun shows buying it. The majority of these
are taken in burglaries. They’re sold on the streets
for a fourth of maybe what they’re worth. They get passed around
quite a bit, resold, and that’s why
residents at home– we beg people to keep track
of their serial numbers of their firearms. Because a lot of times
we actually recover a lot of guns that we know
this 16-year-old kid with this $500 Glock– you know, we know
it’s a stolen gun but it doesn’t
check back stolen. And so we have to do a little
more follow up paperwork. We get what’s called
an eTrace done, which is the ATF basically tells
us who this gun was sold to, and we have to do a
bunch of follow up. And ultimately, we end
up finding out oftentimes these guns are stolen, but
it really helps if, you know, gun owners keep
their serial numbers. That way when they
discover them missing they can provide them
to the officers. INTERVIEWER: And find
the best possible way to secure their firearms to
keep them from being stolen. SEAN LARKIN: Yes.
I understand home protection. You want to have one out there. But you know, when
you’ve got multiple guns and you just lay them
out in your closet or you’re sticking
them under the mattress or you’re sticking in the top
underwear drawer, that type of thing, that’s
where these guys– when they break
into a house they’re not in there for two hours. They’re in and out of
those places very quickly. They know where people
keep these type of things, and that’s what
they’re looking for. INTERVIEWER: But
unmarked units, right? SEAN LARKIN: Yeah, they
are unmarked units. They’re not necessary
undercover cars. I mean, we drive your Ford
Taurus’, and Ford Explorers, your Police Explorers. They all have spotlights. They have black rims on
them, the tinted windows. They’re just different colors. You know, they don’t have any of
the decals on the outside that say police, but I can
assure you every bad guy knows we’re the police.
INTERVIEWER: They know you. SEAN LARKIN: When you hit– when you hit the neighborhood
they know you’re coming. You know, I kind of joke
that it’s the soccer moms who are about the only people
that don’t recognize our cars because we’ll be
were driving down the highway and one of them will
fly by us, you know, 20 miles over the speed limit. I’m like, man, how
could you not know this is a police car right here? You know, it’s very obvious. INTERVIEWER: Tell me
about some of the gangs that are most prolific in
Tulsa that you deal with. SEAN LARKIN: So the gangs
in Tulsa, they are– it originated in LA back when
the crack cocaine started spreading across the country. That was basically how it
moved across the country. A lot of these crimes street
gangs based out of Los Angeles, trying to– INTERVIEWER: Expand. SEAN LARKIN: Expand
their enterprise, their drug enterprise. These gangs moved
to other cities across the country,
including the Midwest, taking crack cocaine out there. And so that’s how it got started
basically in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Our street gangs are
very loosely organized. There’s not like
this Don or this OG at the top who’s making
decisions and dictating who gets to do what and
who’s paying money to who or who do you get to go kill. It’s very opportunity
based, very emotionally based, spur of
the moment type of things that happen. So we have, you know,
all your major– your Bloods, your Crips. We got your Hoover Crips,
your neighborhood Crips, and there’s a ton of
subsets below these things. We’ve got our Hispanic gangs. INTERVIEWER: Which ones? Like MS-13? SEAN LARKIN: No,
we actually don’t. We actually had one family
that was legitimately from El Salvador through LA to Tulsa. They were a–
ironically their last name was Fitzpatrick which– INTERVIEWER: They were
Salvadorans named Fitzpatrick? SEAN LARKIN: Salvadorian Irish. It was something the
way the family was married or something
like that, but they were legit from El Salvador. But you know, one of
those guys, he was murdered in a gang shooting. A couple of other guys ended
up going to federal prison. And they were like our really
only MS-13 group here in Tulsa. Now our largest one is the
sure os, the South Siders. They use the number 13. We’ve got the Florence–
we got Florencia, Latin Kings, the [spanish]. Those are all of
our Hispanic gangs. INTERVIEWER: And
they have norte os. To explain that to
the audience, there are basically two regional
subsets of Spanish gangs on the west coast–
Mexican gangs primarily. SEAN LARKIN: Correct. Norte os means from
the north and sure os means from the south. SEAN LARKIN: Yes, exactly. Sure os means
southerner and norte os is this for northerner. And basically, the way the state
of California– pretty much every facet, including
gangs, it’s kind of almost like two separate states. And if I remember
correctly, I think it’s Fresno was kind of
like the dividing line they used for the gangs basically. And so they’ve got rival colors. The norte os wear red,
sure os wear blue. They’re enemies in prison. And because their
enemies in California, these two street gangs
are enemies everywhere else in the country as well. So in Tulsa, we have a
small group of norte os. You know, they’re not too big. The majority of our
gangs are all kind of connected with
our south siders, as we call them, the sure os. So they fight amongst the other
Hispanic gangs there in Tulsa. INTERVIEWER: Now if you had to
say this is the one gangster I’ve dealt with in my
23 year career that was just the hardest, most
gangster dude you ever encountered, who would that be? SEAN LARKIN: Laurel [inaudible]. Laurel Rufus– his
middle name was Rufus. Or not middle name, but
he just went by Rufus. Or they call him big hundid. INTERVIEWER: Big hundid. SEAN LARKIN: H-U-N-D-I-D. INTERVIEWER: Which is
like the 100, right? SEAN LARKIN: Yes. And he’s from our Hoover Crips. That’s our largest
gang in Tulsa. And this guy, I started dealing
with him when he was young. You know, I was a young officer. He was younger than me. He was a teenager. And it was just one of
those probably of five guys that I’ve dealt with that just
gives you that little tingling feeling in your body. Like, this dude
is the real deal. And the real battle is
definitely one of the guys that sticks out for sure. And he’s– he’s
actually in federal prison right now for a murder. He killed a federal informant–
was taking out his trash. INTERVIEWER: That’s gangster. SEAN LARKIN: That’s
gangster, man. INTERVIEWER: What’s
your proudest moment? SEAN LARKIN: Man, I just
got into the gang unit as a supervisor there. We had a gang shooting that
happens on a Saturday night, early Sunday morning at a club. And the suspect vehicle
using this thing was a maroon bubble Caprice. You know, ’94, ’95 Caprices. It was between the Hoover
Crips and neighborhood Crips. Well, the next morning I
get a call from our homicide detectives about a shooting
with the four victims that had been shot
one was dead 10:00 in the morning on a
Sunday, and it was a maroon Caprice that had been shot up. And the car was five deep. There were five guys
in it, but these guys had all just left church. And it was five
young black males, all I think like 17 to 20. And the guy that had been
shot the night before, one of his friends saw this maroon
Caprice and thought these were the suspects from shooting
his buddy the night before. INTERVIEWER: And it wasn’t. SEAN LARKIN: It wasn’t. So he sees him at a
convenience store. He runs back to his
house a block away and gets a rifle, a 223,
and then jumps in a car. And literally like out of a
movie sits up on the window, rolls the window down in his
car, sits up on the window as they’re going
past this Caprice, starts lighting it
up with his rifle. They crash. They actually stop
in front of it and start dumping
more rounds into it. So one kid died, another
one ended up paralyzed, another one lost an eye. Actually got shot through
the face and lost his eye. Another one end up having a shot
to the chest, collapsed lung. One guy somehow didn’t get hit. But within a matter
of a few days, we actually recovered
the murder weapon. We got the driver of the
car, who end up cooperating, and just about
two weeks later we ended up catching the suspect. And so for something– for me
to be a new officer in the gang unit to see something that
violent happen to, you know, kids coming home from
church, and to make the apprehension of
those guys and get convictions for these guys? That was honestly the
proudest moment in my career. INTERVIEWER: Did anybody get
the death penalty in that case? SEAN LARKIN: No.
INTERVIEWER: No? SEAN LARKIN: No, no. Didn’t get the death penalty. It’s actually– it’s pretty
rare, especially in the gang world, that we actually
get any of the gang murders as a death penalty.

27 thoughts on “PD Stories Podcast: Sgt. Sticks Larkin Talks About Being on the Gang Unit | A&E

  1. Just when I recently thought it'd be nice to sit down with one of the officers or their supers and pick their brains for a minute or two…

  2. Soccer moms and other people with some money don’t notice it’s an unmarked cop car, even if it’s obvious, because they’re not worried about cops or getting pulled over because they’re not ever doing anything wrong

  3. Listen!! Try being in the gang unit in Baltimore, Philly, Louis etc..
    They’d run you out of there darlin’ 🤣🤣🤣🤣

  4. Gang units just rely on gang member mentality. Search warrants for the wrong house. Using flash bangs, breaking down the door, smashing windows out, while little kids are in the house.

  5. It's nice to hear him say the unit switched focus from dope to guns and why. The american people generally agree with sticks on this issue; resources like gang units should be taking away the physical power of the gangs (the weapons) and ending prohibition would destroy their potential for profit…

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