CapitolBeatOK Staff Report
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma State Rep. Mike Christian, R-Oklahoma City announced Wednesday (October 14) that he is moving forward with a bill to consolidate Oklahoma state law enforcement agencies.
After meeting with members of the agencies involved as well as with other stakeholders in Oklahoma's criminal justice system, Christian reviewed his plans with his colleagues in the House leadership. In the end, they came to an agreement on a plan that would make Oklahoma’s criminal justice system both more efficient and more effective.
“Currently, Oklahoma has no overall system that evaluates the state’s crime trends and deploys our resources to fight crime in a smart way,” said Christian, R-Oklahoma City. “There is limited sharing of information or resources between state law enforcement agencies. We are only one of a few states that still operate this way.”
State Rep. Scott Biggs, R-Chickasha, who was also involved in the creation of the plan, noted that the plan would involve consolidation of the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. Biggs stated that while the plan would likely involve consolidating other law enforcement agencies in the future, the measure going forward in the upcoming legislative session would likely be limited to those three agencies.
Christian pointed out that consolidation does not necessarily mean merger at all levels.
“Each of these agencies has proud histories and cultures,” Christian said. “We respect that, and we were very careful to protect those traditions in our plan.”
Christian stated that the plan would organize Oklahoma’s law enforcement efforts into a system somewhat like that which exists in Texas. It would involve a commission that employed a director, and that director would have common control over each of the agencies.
Christian noted that he worked closely with the criminal justice faculty at East Central University in developing ng this plan, and thanked them for their contribution.
Christian concluded, “I am confident that this re-organization will not only effectively ensure Oklahoma’s safety, but also save our taxpayers’ dollars. More details on the legislation will be coming soon.”