Local officers have a new tool to deter threats

MIAMI, Okla. – Local law enforcement officers now have a new way of deterring threats while preserving life using PeppeBall launchers and PepperBall Blast.

Miami Police Department Lieutenant Jason Bissell is a certified trainer and held two sessions this week to train 15 area officers on the proper use of non-lethal devices.

As the MPD’s lead trainer, Bissell also provides training for the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office, where he has a Reserve Commission.

“It’s a great alternative,” Bissell said.

Bissell said the PepperBall launcher models, the FTC and VKS, are designed to prevent deaths and provide an effective option to lethal or less-lethal weapons.

About PepperBall training

The PepperBall launchers can only be used by trained officers and according to policy, MPD officers only use force when it is reasonably necessary to accomplish lawful goals, protect themselves or others from physical injury, or prevent escape.

Officers are trained to utilize a progression of force, beginning with verbal warnings, physical directions, and demands, and ending with the discharge of weapons as a last resort.

The PepperBall devices provide a non-lethal option that should only be used in active resistance situations, such as crowd dispersal or distraction during riots or when people are threatening physical harm or property damage.

Officers are trained to evaluate a situation using a three-pronged strategy that considers the seriousness of the offense, the immediate danger to the public’s safety, and whether the suspect is actively resisting arrest or attempting to flee.

The PepperBall launchers shoot hard plastic breakable spheres using high-pressure air and CO2 to deliver PAVA (pelargonic acid vanillyamide) powder projectiles upwards to 60 feet with a powder saturation of up to 150 feet.

The ingredients in PepperBalls are based on capsaicinoids, one of the spiciest substances found in pepper plants that can render a person unconscious and stop them for up to 15 minutes.

The area where the projectiles strike the person may also sustain bruises, abrasions, welts, and perhaps bleeding and officer are trained to not aim at faces, necks, spines, or groin areas to avoid potential greater harm.

Four different projectile types are utilized, each with varying amounts of PAVA, a harmless powder, or a more powerful substance called a glass-breaker that may break windows on cars and houses.

The officers also received training on how to use a PepperBall Blast, a smaller handheld weapon meant to fire a single blast for use in closer situations like entry situations and jail riots.

According to Bissell, any use of these devices by MPD officers is reported and documented.

Alternate Strategies

Officers also learned about de-escalation strategies and legal guidance on what constitutes fair and acceptable use of a weapon during the training.

Before deploying the PepperBall systems, the officers were instructed to issue verbal warnings. If fired, they were instructed to employ a certain amount of shots and, when practical, to use tactical pauses to further evaluate the situation.

The participating class was shown a number of videos demonstrating the usefulness of the PepperBall as well as other situations where having this alternative accessible would be beneficial to both suspects and cops.

After passing a test and a range training where they fired a number of rounds from the launcher, the police were certified to use the weapon.

According to Bissell, the Miami Police Department has successfully employed firearms in a number of circumstances, potentially saving lives.


Elderly woman scammed into receiving 15 pounds of cocaine, instructed to repackage and ship

TULSA, Okla. – Federal investigators have been handed a case that originated within the city of Tulsa involving an elderly woman scammed to receive drugs, and instructed to repackage and ship them to another address.

Tulsa Police say it was roughly 7 KILOS (15.4 POUNDS) of cocaine.  The estimated street value is $300,000.

| HOUSE FIRES >>Fire Dept reminders of Space Heater Safety

After serving a narcotics warrant at the elderly woman’s address near 61st and Memorial officers discovered the drugs.

Through the investigation, it appears an elderly female was scammed online into receiving the drugs and was given instructions to repackage the drugs to ship to another address. Due to the nature of the crimes, the information and the woman were turned over to federal authorities.” – Tulsa Police Dept

The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office (TCSO) and Homeland Security Investigations continue the investigation.

This is a breaking news story, stay with Joplin News First on KOAM News Now as we continue to learn more.  Scroll below and sign up for our JLNews email alerts so you don’t miss an article.



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K-9 Officer laid to rest

SOUTH COFFEYVILLE, Okla – A k-9 Officer was laid to rest today.

Seven-year-old Taz was a drug dog for the South Coffeyville police department and helped serve his community since 2018.

His handler Officer Shelldon Rivers was there for his last ride.

Taz’s hips had continually become worse and he was in pain and having a hard time walking.

He was taken to Independence Kansas to an animal hospital to be euthanized.

Officers say they tried to spoil Taz in his last weeks with treats and his favorite ball.

He was laid to rest in Nowata Oklahoma at Stumpff Funeral Home.

His handler Officer Rivers said he trusted Taz with his life and couldn’t have had a better partner.

You can watch the full story below.



News To Know: Netflix comes to Joplin, single vehicle fatality

JOPLIN, Mo. – Netflix’s latest season of its true crime documentary show I Am A Killer features a Joplin man who was sentenced to first-degree murder. Gary Black was convicted of the fatal stabbing of Jason Johnson in 1998. But Jason Johnson was not his only victim. Jackie Clark Senior was robbed and shot by Gary Black near i-44 in Joplin when he was 18 years old…and now he’s telling his story.

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Kan. – According to the Kansas Highway Patrol, a single-vehicle crash happened around 11:20 pm Monday night, December 5, 2022. An SUV was driving along 1065 S. 220th Road in Crawford County, Kansas. It left the roadway to the west and hit a concrete culvert where it overturned into a field. The driver, 70-year-old Robert E. Shaver, of Pittsburg, died at the scene. To read this entire story, click here.

COMMERCE, Okla. – Toybox positively impacts children and their families throughout the Four States. KOAM caught up with one of the hundreds of families that benefit from Toybox donations. In Ottawa and Delaware counties, our Toybox partner is the Marine Corps Reserve Toys For Tots. This year they’re celebrating their 75th year anniversary. This year more families than ever have signed up…in fact, six thousand kids will be receiving toys which is up from two thousand a year ago.

Check out this story of how Toybox saved one family’s Christmas: Local family’s Christmas is saved by Toybox campaign

JOPLIN, Mo. – Alorcia partners with Joplin Fire Department for their 5th Annual Christmas for Kids Campaign. Alorcia has donated over 2,000 gifts and 2,000 dollars in cash to the charity. Click here for more information on this story.

News To Know: homicide investigation, local women honored

ALLEN COUNTY, Kan – The Kansas Bureau of Investigation (KBI), the Allen County Sheriff’s Office, and the Neosho County Sheriff’s Office are investigating a homicide after a man was found dead Saturday evening, December 3 in Chanute, Kansas. At around 4:50 p.m., Casey M. Dye, 43, of Petrolia, Kan., arrived at the Allen County Sheriff’s Office and provided a statement to sheriff’s deputies. Shortly after, law enforcement officers located a deceased man in a vehicle inside an automotive glass shop at 7545 Kansas Highway 39, in Chanute. The man – who was identified as Ryan M. Holcomb, 45, from Chanute – had suffered fatal gunshot wounds. He was pronounced dead at the scene. If you would like to read more about this story, click here.

COMMERCE, Okla. – Authorities respond to a house fire in Commerce, Oklahoma, on Thanksgiving and say there was a fatality. Leanna Janette Mustain of Commerce, Oklahoma perished in the house fire. She was 84. If you would like to read more about Leanne Mustain, click here.

JOPLIN, Mo. – A local physician pleads guilty in federal court to health care fraud. U.S. Attorney Teresa Moore’s office released information about the plea today. Prosecutors say 55-year-old Heather D. Stelling provided false information to get Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements. Authorities say she was not entitled to those reimbursements. Click here if you would like to read more about this story, including the terms of the plea bargain.

PITTSBURG, Kan. –Area women receive honors in Pittsburg for their achievements. The award ceremony took place at the Pittsburg State University Overman Student Center. The Pittsburg Area Chambers of Commerce hosted the event. Click here to read more about this ceremony.

Inmate escapes county jail in NW Ark., 3X jail escapee

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Ark. — An inmate awaiting transfer to the Arkansas Dept of Corrections has escaped from the county jail at Van Buren, Ark.

  • Jeromy Call
  • 5’8”
  • 205 pounds
  • 38 Years Old
  • Brown Hair/Brown Eyes
  • Tattoos: snake and a woodpecker

The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office in Van Buren, Ark. say the escape about 2:30 a.m. was observed on security footage after-the-fact.

Jeromy Call escaped from custody at the Crawford County Detention Center through a duct vent. Call was last seen wearing a black hoodie and dark colored pants.


The Sheriff states that Call does not have a violent history, however if spotted DO NOT engage with him.

If you have information or spot Jeromy Call, they ask you contact the Investigation Division of the Crawford County Okla. Sheriff’s office, Lt Testerman at 479-474-2581.


Joplin News First covered Jeromy Call’s last escape in October of 2021. The LeFlore County Okla. Sheriff’s Office stated two inmates had escaped. Days later Call was located in Washington County, Ark

Call escaped from the LeFlore County Detention center back in October 2021 and was arrested shortly after in AR. He was sentenced to ADC on LeFlore County Warrants,” LCSO states in a release of information on Thursday, December 1, 2022.

LeFlore County, Okla. records also show Call escaped the jail in February of 2021. It does not say how he was returned to custody after that escape.

Inmate Roster – Crawford County Sheriff’s Department

This is a breaking news story, stay with Joplin News First on KOAM News Now as we continue to follow this story.



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Oklahoma bill looks to lower age of handgun owners, carriers

GROVE, Okla. – Republican State Representative Jim Olsen is the author of a bill that would lower the age restrictions to carry and purchase a handgun from 21 to 18, as long as the person is a permanent resident of Oklahoma.

Some organizations including The Oklahoma Chapter of Moms Demand Action have expressed opposition to expanding gun access without a requirement for gun safety training.

The legislative session will be heard in February of next year.

News To Know: fatal crash in Sarcoxie, Missouri carries out execution

DELAWARE COUNTY, Okla. – A Jay man was sentenced Tuesday in federal court for shooting and killing his mother and wounding a second family member in northeast Oklahoma. U.S. District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell sentenced Christopher Leo Weeley, 42, to 24 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release. Click here if you would like to read more about this story.

BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — Monday November 28, Baxter Springs Police responded to a residence, 2400 Lincoln Ave, regarding a shooting. Three men suffering gunshot wounds. “Two died of injuries on the scene,” Chief Brian Henderson states, the third victim rushed to a Joplin hospital. Next of kin are now notified as names are released:

  • Jeremy Murphy, 47, of Anderson, Mo.
  • Craig Guinn, 59, of Pineville, Mo.
  • Seth Guinn, 27, of Pineville, Mo.

If you would like to read more about this story, click here.

SARCOXIE, Mo. — About 3:45 p.m. Tuesday, November 29, 2022 reports of a two vehicle crash at MO-37 and Blackberry Road alerted Jasper Count E-911. Sarcoxie Fire Dept, Sarcoxie Police and Mercy Ambulance responded. MoDOT Emergency Response and Missouri State Highway Patrol were notified. Driving a 2013 Fiat, Emmanuel Lovell, 20, of Sarcoxie, he was traveling north on CR60. He was pronounced deceased at the scene by Jasper County Coroner Randy Nace. Click here to read more about this story.

BONNE TERRE, Mo. — A Missouri man convicted of ambushing and killing a St. Louis area police officer he blamed in the death of his younger brother was executed Tuesday night. Kevin Johnson, 37, died after an injection of pentobarbital at the state prison in Bonne Terre. It was the state’s second execution this year and the 17th nationally. Two more executions are scheduled in Missouri for the first few weeks of 2023. To read more about this story, click here.

Northeast Oklahoma man sentenced for murdering his mother

DELAWARE COUNTY, Okla. – A Jay man was sentenced Tuesday in federal court for shooting and killing his mother and wounding a second family member in northeast Oklahoma.

“Christopher Weeley fatally shot his mother and seriously wounded a second family member at a home in Jay in 2021. My thoughts are with the family and the second victim as she continues her long-term recovery,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson. “Weeley will serve 24 years in prison for the harm he has caused to his family. My office remains steadfast in its commitment to seek justice for victims affected by violence.”

U.S. District Judge Gregory K. Frizzell sentenced Christopher Leo Weeley, 42, to 24 years in federal prison followed by five years of supervised release.

“The outcome of this case is a direct result of the excellent partnership we have with the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma,” said FBI Oklahoma City Special Agent in Charge Edward J. Gray. “Today’s sentence ensures Christopher Weeley will be brought to justice for his horrific crime and hopefully begins the healing process for his grieving family.”

During sentencing, Weeley, a long-time drug user, apologized to his family although they were not in attendance.

He told the court that he heard drugs did horrible things to families but didn’t think it would ever happen within his own family.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Roberts shared with the court that the surviving victim continues to receive treatment for her injuries. He further relayed that she could not bring herself to come to the hearing because she felt it would harm her emotionally at this time.

Click here to read more,

News To Know: body discovered, shooting suspect

BAXTER SPRINGS, Kan. — Just before 3 p.m. on Monday, November 28, authorities respond to reports of a shooting in Baxter Springs in the 2400 block of Lincoln. Chief Brian Henderson says there is no threat to the public, but an isolated incident within a residence. When officers arrived, they began life-saving measures. 2 people succumbed to their injuries. The man in custody is identified as Kyle Butts, 41, of Independence MO.  He is being held in the Cherokee County Jail pending formal charges by the Cherokee County Attorney’s Office. If you are interested, click here for more information.

EL DORADO SPRINGS, Mo. — On Sunday at just after 2:00 in the afternoon, El Dorado Springs police respond to the 100 block of North Jackson street concerning a deceased person in the nearby creek bed. The deceased has been identified as 30-year-old Tory Richards of El Dorado Springs. The cedar county coroner’s office is assisting the investigation although authoirites say there is no apparent sign of foul play. Next of kin have been notified. Click here if you would like to read more about this story.

NORTHEAST OKLAHOMA — According to CBS News, statistics show Native American communities see a disproportionate amount of violence and missing persons cases. When a Native American is murdered or disappears on one of the 324 federally recognized reservations across the United States, the majority of these cases fall within federal jurisdiction. CBS reports that in recent years, families of missing and murdered Indigenous people have pushed federal authorities and legislators to address the crisis. Grassroots advocates join those families in the fight. If you would like to read more about this report, click here.

NORTHEAST OKLAHOMA — Among the missing Native Americans, authorities are still searching for Grove Oklahoma native Aubrey Dameron. She was 25-years-old at the time when she went missing in March of 2019. If you have any information about the location of Aubrey Dameron you are urged to contact the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office, the OSBI, or the Cherokee Nation martial service.