, Muskogee, OK

February 2, 2013

THE PEOPLE SPEAK — Voters should elect fair chief of police

— The Tahlequah chief of police is an elected position. He is ultimately responsible for the proper training of all Tahlequah Police Department (TPD) officers. Do the citizens of Tahlequah want to elect a fair chief law enforcement officer? Or are the voters satisfied with a chief who fires TPD officers for doing their job and hires school resource officers (SRO) who don’t know their job? TPD officers have been fired for stopping “influential” family members of Tahlequah and trying to effect an arrest. Fired because they were doing their job and not what the chief wanted. To release them to their family because of their community status. Would the same courtesy be afforded to anyone else by the Chief of Police? Not a chance.

Do parents of children attending Tahlequah schools want “untrained” SROs watching their kids? It’s true, some are good officers, but you always have a few who aren’t. A misdemeanor must occur in the presence of a law enforcement officer to effect an arrest or citation. My son was issued a citation for having a cigarette on THS property. The SRO did not see him or catch him. The JROTC instructor did. However the SRO issued the citation to my 16-year-old for possession of tobacco. The outcome was going to court (twice) and luckily no fine or court costs. I informed a THS principal of the misdemeanor law. I was told they (THS) “have been doing it this way for years.” How many THS kids have been issued citations when the SRO did not catch them with a cigarette? Who is ultimately responsible? The chief of police. My vote will go to Charley Batt, a retired OHP Trooper. Charley will not forget this is an elected position. Not one appointed by the Tahlequah Mayor or City Council.