Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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March 21, 2014

PV police, Lighthorse team up

emann@pvdemocrat.com — It is not rare for small community law enforcement agencies to stretch what will always be limited resources.

Pauls Valley Police Chief Mitch McGill said, that running a successful presence could depend on the cooperation between all agencies.

The idea gained strength after the city council approved an agreement with the Chickasaw Nation’s Lighthorse Tribal Police.

“It just allows us to work together for the common good,” said McGill. “It basically gives another level of protection.”

What amounts to cross deputization, Lighthorse has jurisdiction on land in town and the police jurisdiction on trust land in town. This includes property like the land surrounding the former Bedré chocolate factory and the youth treatment center in town.

McGill believes something like this is important. There are not many incidents where they deal with the Lighthorse, but in an emergency they can act without asking permission.

The agreement allows each party to share resources. He knows from experience extra help is something that never hurts when getting a problem under control.

The agreement in a way is a part of something new for the tribe in Oklahoma as they were only as of Nov. 1 recognized by the state as a law enforcement agency.

Before that they were only federally recognized and weren’t allowed to enforce state laws outside of their land.

Pauls Valley is only one of a few communities that have such an agreement.

McGill is confident this agreement will go smoothly. He only agreed to it after they hashed out the details with the chief of Lighthorse and the two department assistant chiefs.

“Before we couldn’t do anything on Indian trust land,” said McGill.

“Basically if they are in Pauls Valley and they witness a major crime they can act on that. The same way with us if we are on trust land.”

While this is a unique situation, McGill noted that it is not much different than an agreement with another entity.

With increased activity in Pauls Valley, McGill believes interactions will continue to grow as the tribe prospers.

“We want to accept them in as our partners. I feel as a county we work well together and this is just another addition to that,” said McGill.

“This is no different than a mutual aid agreement - it allows them the protection to help my officers.”

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