Aug. 5—Law enforcement agencies across Rogers County received funds to help fill the gap and use where needed.
Cherokee Nation donated $51,200 to local law enforcement agencies within District 14.
Agencies within the District 14 include: Verdigris, Claremore, Foyil, Chelsea, Talala, Oologah, Collinsville, RSU police, Rogers County Sheriff's Office and the Rogers County 911 call center.
"These funds are recognizing the good job that our men and women in law enforcement do and it's recognizing the fact that citizens of the Cherokee Nation, and everybody else, all benefit when our police have the tools and resources to do their jobs," District 14 Tribal Councilor Keith Austin said.
Austin said the Cherokee Nation sets aside a portion of tag revenue to be donated to their law enforcement partners.
"Every year it's gotten bigger," he said. "And this is absolutely the biggest we've ever been able to do. When I started on council, we were able to do something more like $30,000 and now we're doing over $50,000 in District 14."
Austin said the funds are unencumbered funds — meaning they can be used for whatever the departments need.
"Our funds give the police department flexibility for something that it may not be budgeted for this year," he said. "Every department uses it differently."
Verdigris Police Chief Jack Shackelford said they will use some of it to purchase new handguns and upgrade some of the in-car computer systems.
"Without it, you know, we'd be having to draw from the town general fund, and it's made a pretty good impact on us as far as not having to deplete our own resources," Shackelford said.
He said the Cherokee funds usually goes directly to purchasing equipment, supplies, uniforms, IT equipment including radios or computers.
As a new police department, Foyil Police Chief Dustin Stamper said they are using the funds to get the basic equipment needed to get the department running.
"We don't have basics at all," Stamper said. "So basically what I'm doing is, I'm making loopholes within the law to be able to make things work."
Stamper said they will use this money to install Offender Data Information System — a reporting software that sends all reports to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
"Every law enforcement agency, every report we do, has to be reported to OSBI," he said. "That way, they have records what's going on and how we're doing things."
Stamper said the installation of ODIS is $7,400 with an annual cost of $1,500. He said this donation will make a huge impact on the new department.
Claremore Police Chief Stan Brown said they will be using the funds to continue to grow their community and youth outreach.
"We'll take every opportunity we have to use those funds for that purpose," Brown said.
Brown said whether that looks like pizza parties with kids or handing out flyers, he wants to enhance the relationship his department has with the community in a positive way.
"This money provides for us tools to make connections," he said.
Austin said the Cherokee Nation needs these community partners.
"All citizens — whether they be Cherokee or non-Cherokee — benefit when our law enforcement is doing a good job," Austin said.