Osage Nation Police are stepping up security with the opening of the tribe's new casino just outside of downtown Tulsa.
The new casino has been open for two days now and a lot of people are coming in to check it out. But when you get there you will notice plenty of security officers and tribal police around to make sure you are staying safe while you are there.
The Osage Nation Police Department patrols tribal land in Osage County including the seven Osage Casino Properties. They can deal with anything from stolen property to helping change a tire.
“For us its really about policing the community and the casinos and making sure that people are okay,” said Sgt. Silva.
Nick Silva has been working with the Osage Nation Police for 8 years. The new casino is equipped with hundreds of facial recognition cameras around the property, but the tribe still believes it’s important to have eyes on the ground to make sure everyone is following the law.
“People come here to have a good time but sometimes people make mistakes and drink a little too much,” said Sgt. Silva
Sgt. Silva says in addition to public intoxication the biggest crime they deal with at the casino is recovering stolen cars.
“When we do that we not only get the vehicle, we get the suspect and we get what’s inside the vehicle,” said Sgt. Silva.
Sgt. Silva says they've recovered drugs and firearms in some of the stolen vehicles and which are not allowed on the tribal property.
“We have recovered firearms off of people in the casino. we will check to see if they have any prior felonies and if they don’t then we are going to tell them to leave the property,” said Sgt. Silva.
Even though downtown Tulsa is only 10 minutes away, if you are arrested at the Osage Casino, you will be making the trip to the Osage County jail in Pawhuska.
“It’s out in the middle of nowhere and some people get a little worried where we are taking them,” said Sgt. Silva.
Osage Nation Police also deals with federal, tribal, and state court systems, so every time they arrest someone, they must ask if they are part of a tribe.
“Sometimes people get infinite bans and they can’t come back at all based on the severity of the crime they committed,” said Sgt. Silva.
Arrests at the casino can happen daily, but officers do their best to work with people to try to get them a ride home instead of throwing them right in jail.
“If someone is intoxicated we will try to find a family member inside the casino or we will call a taxi. We certainly don’t want to have to drive an hour to transport someone for public intox,” said Sgt. Silva. “It’s not a major crime and there’s other crimes going on that we need to address,” said Sgt. Silva.
Not only, do they work with Osage County Sheriff’s Office, they also work with several other Green Country law enforcement agencies that may be in and around tribal land or near one of the 7 Osage Casino locations.
“All of our Osage casinos really are on the outskirts of a larger city such as Tulsa, Sand Springs, Ponca City, Bartlesville so we work with a lot of other agencies,” said Sgt. Silva.
The new security system at the Osage Casino is also equipped with hundreds of cameras and can be very helpful in different types of investigations.
“There’s a lot of times that we work with TPD and they come to us and need information or they need video of someone who may have come into the casino and with the surveillance systems that we have they can build a great timeline for any type of case.”
There are also several Emergency Call Boxes around the parking lots and parking garage that will go straight through to security in case people need assistance. Because keeping people safe is what the Osage Nation Police Department is always working to do.
“We’re excited that this new casino has been completed and we are excited that it is going to offer jobs to people who live close to here and we're excited that it’s going to bring people from all around.” Said Sgt. Silva. “We just want people to have a good time and also feel safe.”