Volunteer honored for aiding rape suspect search
BY JEFF BILLINGTON World Staff Writer
Thursday, October 26, 2006
4/09/08 at 12:09 AM
Kurt Bickle thought he might be able to put his mapping and graphing expertise to work for the Tulsa Police Department as it was searching for a serial rapist who had the city on edge.
Bickle, who heads the mapping and graphing department for the Indian Nations Council of Governments, put together a profiling chart with aspects from different rape cases, including description, actions, method of entry and more, to help in the apprehension of Gary Lee Graham Jr., 37, who is accused in the attacks.
Because of his efforts, Bickle received the Citizen Appreciation Award Wednesday by the Serial Rapists Task Force of the Tulsa Police Department. It was because of Bickle's efforts, Sgt. Gary Stansill said, that police were able to identify the alleged rapist and ultimately arrest Graham.
"Basically, he (Bickle) became a member of the unit," Stansill said. "His services were his expertise. He had those skills that we don't.
"I believe what Kurt did definitely affected this individual being arrested."
Bickle, who has worked as a police volunteer for 10 years, used similarities and differences in each case in preparing the maps and graphs.
"I thought maybe I could help in some way," he said. "I knew graphically I could put together something to help visualize this case."
Working with INCOG gave Bickle access to information most agencies don't have, he said, including aerial photography and mapping software.
"You never want to feel like you're in the way, you want to feel like you're helping," he said. "It was truly a team effort, and I feel very proud to be a part of this team."
Bickle spent his own time putting together the information into a readable format for the task force, Stansill said.
"It helped us visualize and helped things stand out. It keeps us from picking up and thumbing through police reports," Stansill said of Bickle's work.
Bickle also rode patrol with officers, researching the serial rapist on his own, Stansill said.
At one point, FBI agents assigned to the case told police that Bickle's work was as good or better than what they could have provided.
"I think that says a lot for what Kurt has done -- he impressed the FBI," Stansill said. "If he (Graham) hadn't been caught, we had other ideas in our back pocket that Kurt had come up with."
Graham is accused of a series of sex crimes and faces trial on 40 felony counts. He faces felony allegations of molestation or sex offenses against a total of 11 girls and women, records indicate. Graham also has a misdemeanor "peeping Tom" count filed against him.
Jeff Billington 581-8400