Last year, two insurance fraud investigators were fatally shot in Louisiana while serving cease-and-desist orders to an insurance agent, a common task for the Oklahoma anti-fraud unit, he said.
“That incident, more than anything else, led to the purchase of the weapons, equipment and vehicles that would better protect our investigators in the line of duty,” he said.
In a separate statement, Doak said funding the purchases is legitimate and comes from the department’s anti-fraud revolving fund at no cost to taxpayers.
“Our anti-fraud unit investigates claims of embezzlement, exploitation of the elderly, fraud and more,” he said.
The investigators travel the state protecting Oklahoma consumers, he said.
“They find criminals and bring them to justice,” Doak said. “They need the proper training and tools to do that and protect themselves.”
After the Louisiana deaths, Doak said he realized his investigators weren’t equipped to protect themselves.”
“As much as we want to stop these criminals, we also want our personnel to come home safely,” he said.
In a subsequent statement, Doak said he has reached out to legislators who have criticized the purchases to explain the need for the equipment.