The National Rifle Association has recognized Sergeant Michael Parsons of the Tulsa (OK) Police Department for his courage under fire, unwavering leadership, and sound judgement by naming him the 2018 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.
“I am privileged to join the millions of members of the National Rifle Association in honoring Sergeant Parsons as the NRA’s 2018 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year,” said NRA President Lt. Col. Oliver North. “Sergeant Parsons’ outstanding tactical decisions in the heat of battle, his leadership and bravery in response to a serious threat to his fellow officers and innocent lives are a testament to his valor. Indeed, his heroic actions, in spite of being wounded, epitomize the selfless dedication of our men and women of law enforcement to public safety and to the communities they serve.”
At 1:23 p.m. on the afternoon of July 3, 2018, officers of the Tulsa Police Department’s Gang Unit initiated a traffic stop for an improper license plate display on a van parked at a gas pump at a local convenience store. When the officers approached the vehicle, they noticed that the driver had moved from behind the wheel to the second row of seats in the van. The driver was uncooperative with the officers, refusing to provide identification or to follow commands to exit the vehicle. Gang Unit officers negotiated unsuccessfully for several minutes with the suspect before they requested additional officers, including one with less-lethal munition capabilities.
Shortly after Sergeant Michael Parsons arrived at the scene to answer the request for backup, the suspect was advised he was under arrest for obstruction and the improper tag display on the vehicle. The suspect refused to comply with the officers and was warned of pepper ball deployment of O.C. spray if he did not comply with the orders given. As Sgt. Parsons began to deliver the pepper-balls, the suspect drew a weapon and fired multiple rounds at Sgt. Parsons and the other officers at the scene.
Sgt. Parsons was struck in his right thigh by one of the suspect's rounds and fell to the ground nearby, while another officer at the scene returned fire, striking the suspect in his chest and neck area. Though he was suffering from a gunshot wound, Sgt. Parsons maintained his composure, continuing to direct officers at the scene and to cover the suspect vehicle with his service pistol. Even while being dragged to safety by fellow officers, Sgt. Parsons maintained coverage on the vehicle as the suspect was still actively moving inside.
Once behind cover, Sgt. Parsons re-assessed his wounds with the assistance of a police medic. With the presence of mind to quickly establish specific roles for different officers, he then began forming an arrest team to apprehend the suspect who still posed a threat to anyone in the area. Sgt. Parsons exercised outstanding judgment, sound tactics and determination in leading the arrest team to take the suspect into custody. Only after the suspect was in custody and no longer a threat to the public did Sgt. Parsons allow himself to be medically treated at the scene and transported to the hospital.
Despite being wounded, Sgt. Parsons continued to show leadership by remaining in command of the incident and ensuring the safety of the other officers and citizens on the scene. As such, the organization says it is with great honor and pride the National Rifle Association names Sergeant Michael Parsons as the 2018 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year.
The NRA will present the 2018 NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award to Sergeant Parsons at the NRA Board of Directors Meeting during the 148th NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits, scheduled for April 25-28, 2019, in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Support for the NRA Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award is provided by TRU-SPEC. For more information about NRA’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award and the NRA Law Enforcement Division, e-mail LE@nrahq.org. For more information about the NRA, visit www.nra.org.