Tulsa Police and Creek Nation Lighthorse Police cross deputized

Friday, January 13th 2006, 2:27 pm
By: News On 6

Tulsa Police officers can now arrest people on Creek Nation land and Creek Nation Lighthorse Police officers can enforce city laws at the casino.

Tulsa's city council just approved a plan to allow the two departments to be cross-deputized. Both sides say it will help keep criminals in check who have been slipping through a legal loophole.

News on 6 crime reporter Lori Fullbright says when a Texas man, Indolecio Saucedo disappeared from the Creek Casino last summer, the investigation was divided in two, because of the different jurisdictions.

The Creek officers could only work the part of the crime that happened on their property and Tulsa Police could only work what happened off Indian land. Now, they can work together in crimes like this and others.

Tulsa Police Chief Dave Been: "We've worked with them well, but, we have no authority on Indian land, even if it's white on white. They have no authority on Indian land if it's white on white.” The tribe says it needs help dealing with non-Indian criminals, especially drug-dealing and gang activity at the casinos.

They also have to let people go who are violating a city ordinance, like public drunk or petty larceny, but thanks to this new partnership, can now arrest those people and take them to the Tulsa County jail. "They won't be out stopping people on Riverside Drive. They don't want to do that and they don't have the people. They only have a few people on duty in this part of the state."

The Creek Nation just expanded its casino at 81st and Riverside and will keep growing. Tribal and city police agree whenever you have money and people in one place, crime is an issue.

The tribe has partnerships like this in seven other counties and it works well. Tulsa officers say they're for any community policing effort that allows them to catch criminals in ways they couldn't before.

Tulsa has other similar partnerships. For instance, the fugitive task force officers are cross-deputized as federal agents so they can make arrests across state lines.

Tulsa plans to have 20 of its officers cross-deputized to go on Creek Nation land when needed.