Oklahoma Legislature May Give More Power To Sheriff's Deputies
By Emory Bryan, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- The Oklahoma Legislature is looking at a change in the law - giving county sheriff's deputies expanded enforcement powers.
This possible change to the law comes from Tulsa state Representative Dan Sullivan - who is a Tulsa County Reserve Deputy. It would give Sheriff's Deputies additional police powers. Cities could use deputies to enforce municipal law - but here in Tulsa - the police chief says there's no plan to do that.
While Sheriff's Deputies now routinely work with City of Tulsa fire and police - they've always had limitations on their authority inside city limits. The state legislature is looking at broadening their powers, changing the law to allow deputies to enforce city as well as state law while providing mutual aid.
"It clarifies some of the duties that can be assigned to deputies, by a mutual aid agreement between a city and the county," said Undersheriff Brian Edwards of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.
It would make it easier for deputies to provide a full range of police powers inside city limits, as long as the city asked for the help. Using deputies was one of Mayor Dewey Bartlett's ideas to fill gaps left by laid off police officers.
Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan said he supports the legislation, because it "makes sense in case of an emergency" on a large scale. He says there's no longer a plan to routinely use deputies, because he says the city is "not to the point we need them."
Tulsa County Undersheriff Brian Edwards says the change in the law would clarify what deputies can do, and if the City ever wanted to make an agreement with the Sheriff's Office - the law wouldn't stand in the way.
"Right now deputies can enforce state law and we serve municipal warrants almost on a daily basis. This would allow us to make probable cause arrests, but the agreement would have to be initiated by the City of Tulsa," said Undersheriff Brian Edwards.
The state House bill is in the early stages and we haven't been able to reach Representative Sullivan for comment.