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Armed fraud fighters


If your work involves apprehending criminals showing up well armed for the job makes sense to me.

But some Oklahoma lawmakers recently criticized Insurance Commissioner John Doak for spending $180,000 to outfit the state’s insurance fraud investigators with new shotguns, body armor, and new vehicles.

"There's no reason for John Doak to be rolling up to a business or any other area in a SWAT-style vehicle mounted with shotguns," state Sen. Harry Coates, R-Seminole, reportedly told the Tulsa World. "That's insanity."

While Oklahoma’s fraud investigators do encounter dangerous situations they mainly focus on white-collar crime. But the killing last year of two Louisiana insurance fraud investigators by an insurance agent who also took his own life led to Oklahoma’s new equipment purchase, according to the news stories.

The Louisiana incident has led to nationwide discussions about arming state insurance fraud investigators.

A spokesperson for the California Department of Insurance told me he recently returned from a conference for insurance department spokespeople. Oklahoma’s purchase of the shotguns got discussed at the conference and he expects more states will arm their investigators, the spokesperson said.

In California, insurance investigators that go out in the field to arrest people are armed, while those who investigate crime from their offices are not, he added.

Oklahoma’s investigators already carried weapons, so the recent purchases appear to upgrade their firepower.

We live in world where far too many irresponsible people are armed and dangerous. I make this statement based on the frequency with which I read about workplace and family shootings.

Given that’s the case, it makes sense that investigators who are knocking on doors to arrest people, or question them about potential crimes, should be well armed.