OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA — He still doesn’t quite know what to do with 50 years worth of stuff.
The old pictures and clippings on his desk, the sometimes macabre souvenirs from a half century of chasing bad guys across the country.
Pratt says, “One of our agents retired after 25 years. He said, ‘you know I came to work here, and I blinked, and I’m retiring.'”
Harvey Pratt has been the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation Forensic Sketch Artist for a couple of generations.
That’s more than 5,000 different composite sketches, 200 skeletal reconstructions, and thousands more soft tissue reconstructions.
“So many,” he admits, “That I can’t tell you.”
He was a beat cop in Midwest City in the mid 60’s until one day a detective asked for his help in catching a home invasion robber.
His sketch worked.
Police caught him.
“If I hadn’t done that I probably never would have done another one,” he says.
After that other departments started asking for Harvey’s help too.
He went to work for the OSBI in 1972, retired in 1992, and un-retired a couple of times.
Along the way we featured him a couple of times working on his own art or other inventions.
No matter what, he kept working on his skill for listening, and for drawing, that might identify a missing person or narrow down a list of suspects.
“That helped us. That was a piece of the puzzle,” he says. “Because then we could put a face with the suspects along with all the other evidence that was there.”
You name a big case during his career and he’s likely to have worked it in his own unique way.
Pratt stresses, “Guys have to pay attention. They have to be doing it all the time.”
He doesn’t trust computer generated sketches and much as his own.
Harvey’s work is destined to outlast his presence at OSBI headquarters too.
His mural of the bureau’s history is the first thing people see when they step off the elevators.
The composite sketch of a career is nearly finished.
To box it all up and take what he wants home.
“I’ve had a lot of job satisfaction” says Harvey.
For more information on Harvey’s career or his own Native American artwork go to www.harveypratt.com