Police In Shamrock, Oklahoma Writing Illegal Tickets

Wednesday, December 8th 2010, 6:18 pm
By: News On 6

Lori Fullbright, News On 6

SHAMROCK, Oklahoma -- Drivers going through Shamrock complained about the traffic tickets they got from the town's officers. What we've learned about those officers is pretty shocking.

It turns out these officers are not officers at all.

Shamrock is 15 miles northwest of Bristow, with a population of about 70.  The police chief and most of his officers are not certified by the state, so the tickets issued were illegal.

So, the Creek County district attorney recently filed papers to ask a judge to tell them to stop writing tickets and stop telling people they're cops.

The whole town of Shamrock is only a third of a mile, with a post office, a museum, church, cemetery and city hall. The Creek County DA's Office says the former Police Chief Richard Lee wrote a number of traffic tickets, but he wasn't a state certified police officer.

He says the officers working for the chief weren't CLEET certified either.

"The people who wrote the tickets to begin with weren't certified. It was never a properly constituted police force," said Mike Loeffler, Creek County assistant district attorney.

One of those officers, Mark Goodman, was arrested in Tulsa in October for having a gun while being drunk. When arrested, he said he was the assistant Chief of Shamrock.

It got to the point that in Shamrock there was no city clerk, no judge, and no prosecutor. This left people with tickets, but no rights. Some received letters threatening them with arrest.

"There have been people calling our office, saying they want to pay their tickets, but there's nobody to pay, nobody to contest, nobody to complain," Loeffler said.

The police issue is just one of many Shamrock is facing. A state audit a few years ago says the town's board took money that was supposed to be used only for the cemetery and used it to pay for other things, including some salaries.

The board decided fixing the town was hopeless and voted this summer to dissolve the town, but they can't even do that. The town has debts, which is illegal. The debts must be paid and the cemetery fund paid back. This means assets must be sold, like the City Hall building and the police cars.

That's why the district attorney finally stepped in and asked for an injunction - to stop the officers from writing tickets and telling people they're officers. He's also asking for someone to be appointed to help dissolve the town, correctly and legally.

The Creek County Sheriff's Department handles the law in Shamrock now, and the volunteer fire department will stay in operation. Currently, a joint Tulsa police and CLEET investigation is looking into whether some of the Shamrock officers either gave away or sold police commissions illegally.

I should know more next week and will keep you posted.