Chickasaw Nation Lighthorse Police Chief Jason O’Neal recently announced recently the department has received a grant of $308, 560 from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

This grant will allow the Chickasaw Nation to hire three new officers, purchase critical equipment and receive training.

“One of the first areas we’re going to target with the grant funds is the tribal housing areas,” said Chief O’Neal. “Working in conjunction with the city and county law enforcement agencies we hope to start providing a preventive patrol for those areas as well as providing educational classes and development of community programs such as citizens on patrol and community watch programs.”

The COPS Tribal Resources Grant Program is designed to enhance the law enforcement infrastructures and community policing practices in Native American communities, and funds such items as salaries and benefits for new community policing officers, basic equipment, crime fighting technology systems and training.

“It is very gratifying to know this grant will enable the department to continue to grow and make a positive difference in our communities,” said Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby.

O’Neal said that the grant funds will enable the LPD to continue the rapid expansion which has allowed them to assist several local law enforcement agencies with numerous investigations and arrests from robberies to drug crimes.

“We have experienced tremendous growth, and this grant will enable us to continue

that growth” said Chief O’Neal. “When we originally developed the department we were counting on having a chief and six police officers. Now we have 29 positions in our organizational chart 12 months later.”

With 22 sworn officers, including a criminal investigator, a narcotics investigator, and K-9 officers, the LPD offers a wealth of resources to law enforcement agencies within tribal boundaries.

In addition to the growth in the number of officers, the LPD has also grown in available technology. A state-of-the-art body wire for undercover operations, a vehicle mounted thermal imaging camera and night vision goggles are among the tools the department utilizes in its crime fighting efforts.

Most recently, the department has also added laptop computers in the vehicles to allow officers to file reports and accomplish other tasks more quickly and efficiently.

“Having computers in the vehicles will not only save time, but will allow the officers to remain out in the field to take calls,” said Chief O’Neal.

“It will really free up resources for the officers to be out there and actively trying to deter and detect criminal activity.

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