MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

March 30, 2013

Tahlequah police chief candidates stay busy

Incumbent cites record; opponent calls for change

By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer

— As Tuesday’s election day nears, two men running for the role of Tahlequah police chief are hard at work.

Clay Mahaney, who’s been the chief since 2009, said he was hoping for more of a voter turnout than in February, when just 2,023 votes were cast.

“I know the weather was bad that day,” Mahaney said. “Hopefully, the weather is nicer (Tuesday) and more people get out.”

Mahaney and his challenger Nate King emerged in February out of a group of four — King got 753 votes (37.22 percent) to Mahaney’s 658 votes (32.53 percent). Stephen Farmer received 459 votes and Charley Batt 153.

Mahaney said he feels his record as police chief speaks for itself.

“We’ve solved all of our violent crimes since I’ve been here,” he said. “I think we’re doing well, I haven’t heard any complaints.

“I think people know the police department is doing well, and in the end, they trust us.”

King has had to balance his campaigning with his work as a Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office investigator.

“I think there are some small things that need to be changed at the police department,” he said. “Like I’ve said from the get-go, if we operate on a strong foundation and operate with vision, we can combat anything that comes our way.”

King said synthetic marijuana is “the most blatant thing we need to battle in Tahlequah.”

“It needs addressed and needs addressed aggressively,” he said. “It’s poison, and it’s poisoning the youth here.”

Reach Dylan Goforth at (918) 684-2903 or dgoforth@muskogeephoenix.com.