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Police Chief: TFD working with TPD to patrol trail/parks

During a Monday, June 5 chat session, Tahlequah Police Chief Nate King updated the public on crime stats for May 2023, which decreased from May 2022.

There were approximately 28 property crimes for the month of May, thefts and burglaries combined according to King.

“Our thefts were about 22 less than what we were for May of 2022. Burglaries and car burglaries were about the same [and] I think we we’re one short, dropped one compared to 2022 for burglaries and four short for car burglaries,” he said.

Officers received over 3,500 calls for service with a little over 1,100 citizen contacts for the month. Additionally, there were 1,300 building checks and 75 arrests.

“Numbers were really good for the month. We have lost two officers [due] to injury – off-duty injury for the month – so we’re two short there. We’ve got two officers in the C.L.E.E.T. Academy and we’ve had one resign in the last month,” King said.

In other business, King said his department is teaming up with Tahlequah Public Schools for summer school. There will be a “Hero Day” this month wherein students can interact with local officers and firefighters.

King said they are working on a plan for this summer that entails some of the school resource officers returning to patrol the streets while school is out of session.

“With the short-handiness and we promoted one of the SROs who would have been working in the schools this summer, those two officers – Officer Pam Bell and Officer Joe Roberts – are filling in on campus with summer school schedules, and then helping out on the day shifts that are short,” King said.

The police chief added that being short-handed put a damper on the park and trail patrol for the summer.

“Our plan was [for officers Bell and Roberts] to spend a lot of time in the parks and on the trail during the summertime. We’ve had to revamp that. We’re making arrangements today to move our police department UTV to the fire station to store it there, and we’re going to rotate some time on the trails with administration and detectives,” King said.

With the average number of calls for service month-by-month, as well as being short-handed at TPD, King said firefighters with the Tahlequah Fire Department will assist with visibility and patrol of the trail and parks.

“It’s one of our hotspots, one of the things we receive the most complaints about [and] needing officers and needing assistance,” he said. “We’re going to do that and see how that goes this summer and that’ll be a continual thing and not just for the summer.”

The goal is to patrol the trail for 3-4 hours a day, everyday.


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