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Police Chief: jail possibly used as 'shelter' amid frigid weather

During a Monday, Jan. 8 chat session, Tahlequah Police Chief Nate King discussed several upcoming changes his department will have in hopes to better serve the community.


King said he was going to be more consistent with his chat sessions and will live stream those sessions on the second and fourth Monday of the month.


“I think it’s a good way to communicate with the public to let you know what we’re doing, what the men and women at the Tahlequah Police Department are doing and we just need to better at that,” King said.


The department’s patrol division will begin “Traffic Tip Tuesday” while detectives will have “Watch Out Wednesday” video segments starting in February.


Additionally, King said the city jail may be used as a “safe haven” or “shelter” should this weekend’s weather pose a dangerous threat to those out in the elements.


“Also, if any churches plan on opening warming stations, please let me know or let the city of Tahlequah know,” he said.


Quarterly town hall meetings are slated for the calendar year, wherein the public can sit in on and speak with officials.


“We will have our first meeting in April of this year. We’ll have a meeting in April, July, and October and it’ll be open forum,” he said.


In other business, King touched on the department’s year-end 2023 stats and said they had 37,000 calls for service, about 300 calls less than what they had in 2022.


“We made 11,000 citizen contacts which consists of traffic stops or citizen stops – pedestrian stops. We had about 12,000 building checks. A number I was really happy about for the last year, by the numbers that our reporting system had, we had 285 property crimes, 200 thefts, and about 85 burglaries,” King said.


At least 2,700 reports were taken, and 640 vehicle crashes were handled by TPD for the year.


“[That] is quite frankly an astronomical number compared to years past; we’re usually 300 to 400 or so. We’ve got to be a little bit better at working traffic in accident-likely areas,” he said.


Close to 1,400 criminal cases were filed last year and of those; 40 percent were filed in tribal court; 40 percent were filed in municipal courts; and 20 percent were filed in district court.


“Overall, it was a trying year as far as calls for service goes and as far as work goes. We’ve seen the workforce change as far as the faces here. We’ve had a lot of institutional knowledge retire over the last couple of years,” King said.


King praised his patrol officers, especially the night shift, for the decline in property crimes over the year.


“We’ve been blessed by having technology come in, with Spillman technologies so that we can analyze data a lot more and really curtail our patrols. At the same time, it doesn’t matter what we find here during the daytime if the night shift isn’t carrying it out at night,” he said.

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