OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — The Oklahoma Organized Retail Crime Task Force held its first meeting, hosted by Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, to discuss organizational matters on Thursday.

Oklahoma Organized Retail Crime Task Force. Photo courtesy Oklahoma State Senate.
Oklahoma Organized Retail Crime Task Force. Photo courtesy Oklahoma State Senate.

“There is a nationwide problem with organized retail crime and Oklahoma is no exception,” Treat said. “Our task force has a unique makeup of business executives, from both large corporations and small businesses, law enforcement and companies involved in the supply chain to help guide our discussions.

“My goal is to figure out the scope of the problem, where we are lacking coordination and communication and what needs to change to help businesses stay and expand in Oklahoma. There may need to be a legislative fix, or better communication and cooperation from various entities on the ground or both. Through our meetings, we will hopefully work together to stop this growing problem and make Oklahoma a more business friendly state.”

The task force was established through Senate Bill 674, with the goal of providing the Oklahoma legislature with research-based recommendations to minimize organized retail crime throughout the state.

According to the bill, the task force’s recommendations must be submitted in a report to the governor, Senate pro tem, speaker of the House and chairs of the House and Senate committees overseeing public safety by Dec. 15, 2024.

The task force consists of 15 appointed members, who selected Home Depot’s lead organized retail crime investigator Jaime Bourne as chairman and QuikTrip’s manager of public and government affairs Michael Junk as vice chairman.

Plans for future task force meetings are unavailable at this time, but will be announced at a later date.

Congressional leaders are also working on a bipartisan plan to crack down on organized retail theft on a national level.

The Combating Organized Retail Crime Act would create a centralized agency within the Department of Homeland Security that would support law enforcement in retail theft investigations.

The bill has support from nearly 80 lawmakers in the House and Senate, but would still need more signatures to pass.