Saying Tahlequah voters were looking for change in the role of the town’s top cop, Nate King won the race Tuesday to replace incumbent Clay Mahaney as police chief.
“The support I had from officers and the things we were hearing from citizens told me (they wanted change),” King said. “They wanted a little more involvement in the community, more proactive police work.”
King, 46, grabbed 1,025 votes (58.1 percent) to Mahaney’s 739 votes (41.9 percent,) widening his margin by nearly 200 votes from February’s general election.
During his campaign, King repeated his mantra of improving officer morale, interacting with the community more and preaching accountability from the top down in the police department.
King said he’ll soon begin working with Tahlequah’s Fraternal Order of Police on strategic planning for when he takes office in early May. He said those meetings will be to determine a “direction” for the department to follow under King’s guidance.
“In the short term, there are some certain policies that have been identified that we need to get in place, in terms of hiring, promotions and some more accountability,” King said. “That goes for me, too. If I’m accountable, it helps the officers be accountable.”
King said one of the major problems facing Tahlequah is the town’s issue with synthetic marijuana. There have been two raids since late last year on stores selling the synthetic drugs in the town’s limits.
“It’s obviously one of the raging problems all over this part of the state and even nationally,” King said. “I’ve been to some meetings as a community member, and we have a fairly decent plan that we can implement when I take office.”
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Police chief — Nate King, 1,025 votes, 58.1 percent; Clay Mahaney, 739 votes, 41.9 percent.
Source: Unofficial results posted by the Oklahoma State Election Board.