Emergency services like police, fire and rescue provide for the safety and well-being of a community and its citizens. Across the state, tribal nations are partnering with their local departments to assist in any way possible — whether it’s providing manpower to help address immediate threats and needs or through donations that go toward the purchase of life-saving equipment.
Tribal success is vital to our area. Having a unified partnership is always a good thing, it doesn’t matter what your project is or what your goal is.
The Economic Impact of Tribal Nations in Oklahoma Fiscal Year 2017
Oklahoma Tribal Nations are major drivers of Oklahoma’s overall economy, ranking as a Top 10 industry.
Rogers County in northeast Oklahoma has densely populated rural areas and small municipalities within the county. “So it puts the focus of the responsibility to serve the masses of the people on the sheriff’s office,” notes Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton. “Our staffing levels, our vehicles, our investigative unit, even our detention facility, struggles to keep up with those demands.”
The good news for Walton and the citizens of Rogers County is that they have willing partners in the area’s tribal nations. “We’re fortunate to be able to network, cross paths, share responsibilities, missions and goals.”
The same is true in Ada. Police Chief Carl Allen points to the many times calls stack up or a case requires additional manpower. Thanks to a cross-deputization between the Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police Department and the sheriff’s office, Ada residents are always able to get immediate help. It’s a relationship Allen describes the relationship as “not only partners, but friends.”
Ardmore Police Chief understands the manpower need all too well. “Like any police department or sheriff’s office, it seems like you never have enough officers.” Grace also partnered with the tribes and cross-deputized the tribal marshals in his area. “We can always call upon them any time to help us and vice versa,” says Grace. “It’s a great partnership and I hope it never ends.”
We’re all kind of interchangeable, We’re going to help when help is needed and they’re going to help us when we need help.
Tribal nations are helping communities by providing boots on the ground, but they’re also providing something equally as important — the funds to purchase new equipment for emergency responders.
The Anadarko Fire Department was a recent recipient of tribal generosity. The Delaware Nation contributed to the purchase of a thermal imaging camera which allows firefighters to see through the smoke and rescue potential victims quicker. “It gives us the ability to quickly scan a room and look for heat signature sources,” explains Assistant Fire Chief Brandon Sanders. “We use these every fire.”
Thermal Imaging Camera
It’s finding victims and saving lives. Learn more about the high-technology camera.
Another donation helped purchase a $135,000 brush truck. The truck is used for grass and land fires. “Having that piece of equipment enables us to have a better response, and a safer response, so that we can minimize the threat,” says Fire Chief Greg Scott.
Ardmore Fire Chief Cary Williamson has experienced similar generosity. “A lot of times the tribe can help us get resources quicker from the state, such as vehicles, generators, lighting and that sort of thing,” he points out. “They’re a vital part of our community and we definitely depend on them.”
Learn more about the truck that’s helping to battle wildfires.
The tribe just stepped up on their own. They found there was a need and decided on their own to jump in there and carry that flag.
Tribal support and contributions to many emergency services across Oklahoma have positively impacted the sustainability of those services and strengthened the ability to provide protection and aid at a professional level to all Oklahomans.
Stay up to date on the stories about all the unique ways state-tribal partnerships work for the benefit of everyone in the state.