MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 24, 2013

Eskridge lauded for task force role

Eight-agency group has caught 3,800 fugitives since 2006

By Dylan Goforth
Phoenix Staff Writer

— Rex Eskridge credited others when he was recently recognized for his work in support of the Eastern District of Oklahoma Violent Crimes Fugitive Task Force.

“It’s really about the men and women who have done the job over the years,” said Eskridge, Muskogee’s chief of police. “I was extremely honored to be recognized, but it’s really about them.”

Deputy U.S. Marshal Dan David called Eskridge a “visionary leader” and said he was the first police chief who “jumped in” when the task force was created in 2006.

“They were the originating member and involved in the ground floor,” David said. “They were the first one that committed to it full time.”

The task force is made up of officers and deputies from eight agencies.

“It assists local municipalities and county sheriffs in apprehending their violent fugitives,” David said.

“We can help track down fugitives who have left an agency’s jurisdiction, the state or even the country. They’re special officers. They can work outside of their regular jurisdiction. They have a very long reach.”

Eskridge said the task force has given the area a tremendous amount of added resources and developed into an “extremely effective program.”

“It’s been a wonderful thing, a true force multiplier,” Eskridge said. “It lets the bad guys know, hey, if you’re out there we’ll get you. If we have someone in New York, we can go get them.”

David said the task force has been responsible for 3,800 arrests.

“That’s phenomenal,” David said. “We don’t even have a major metro area in our district. (Eskridge) has supported the efforts of this task force since the beginning, and it’s done a great service to Muskogee and all the surrounding communities.”

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