MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

January 23, 2014

OHP troop in larger headquarters

It’s more than five times size of old building used for 40 years

Members of Oklahoma Highway Patrol Troop C and other employees of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety are settling in at their new headquarters at 1806 N. York Street.

The new building provides much-needed additional space for the troop, which had been operating out of a small facility on the Muskogee Turnpike’s service road near the Chandler Street exit for four decades.

“Over 40 years, a lot changes,” said Capt. Damon Tucker, Troop C’s commander. “We had just outgrown it.”

The structure near the Chandler exit was built in 1974 and was approximately 3,000 to 4,000 square feet. The new site is on five and a half acres, and the building is 23,000 square feet.

The additional space makes it possible to expand services in Muskogee, Tucker said.

The headquarters is used by OHP troopers, the bomb squad, marine enforcement, investigations, driver’s license services and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

The new space provides storage room for the equipment of the bomb squad and marine enforcement. Because that equipment is now being stored in Muskogee, the response times for both departments will be decreased, Tucker said.

An OSBI agent will move into an office at the building next month.

The Muskogee OHP headquarters is one of 13 field headquarters in the state.

“This facility is the largest facility outside of the Oklahoma City metro area that’s operated by the Department of Public Safety,” Tucker said.

OHP officers who are not part of Troop C also will be using the facility. They include members of special operations — criminal interdiction and canine units — who will use the facility to complete paperwork and for training.

The troop’s new headquarters has two classrooms — one room accommodates 40, and the other offers training space for 80 to 100. Smart boards for the training rooms will soon be installed, and once the rooms are renovated, they can be used for training sessions by the OHP and other law enforcement agencies.

The communications systems and personnel will remain at the location near the turnpike, Tucker said. Decisions on whether communications will be moved to the new location and future use of the former building have not been made.  “We’re looking at various options,” he said.

Troop C, which has 35 commission personnel, plus a secretary and maintenance personnel, began preparing for the move and renovation of the building on York Street in January 2013.

The new headquarters was formerly used by the Army Reserve.

“Once the Army vacated the facility, it reverted back to city property,” Tucker said.

OHP leases the property from the city of Muskogee.

City officials helped make the move possible.

“We had a very good working relationship to get this project done,” Tucker said.

Troop C serves seven counties — Muskogee, McIntosh, Haskell, Sequoyah, Adair, Cherokee and Wagoner.

Reach Anita Reding at (918) 684-2903 or areding@muskogeephoenix.com.

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