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.
Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd assumed office in 2017. A career law enforcement officer, the Ottawa County native made it an immediate priority to cross-deputize local tribal marshals. “One of the problems that I’ve seen was the response time for law enforcement in the county was quite lengthy,” Floyd relates. If deputies were tied up on one call and another emergency call came in from the other side of the county, Floyd said they could be looking at a 20-30- minute response time. “I wanted to shorten that distance,” he notes.
With several tribes located in the northeast Oklahoma area, Floyd knew there were a team of officers who were ready and willing to help. So he made it his first priority to cross-deputize the tribal marshals. “Not only have we tripled our manpower, but we have reduced our response times dramatically,” marvels Floyd. It’s a win-win for citizens, who have more manpower on the streets at no added expense to the community.
Ardmore Police Chief Ken Grace also cross-deputized tribal officers in his area, Chickasaw Nation’s Light Horse Police Department, with police powers in the city. “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 might wear different colored uniforms, our badges might be a little different, but ultimately, they all mean the same things. And we’re here for everyone — not just a particular group or a particular tribe — we’re here for everyone.
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.