12-6-05 - Five law enforcers in southeastern Oklahoma were given special commendation this morning as U.S. marshal deputies.
Trooper Johnny Christian, Second Lieutenants Ronnie Hampton and Damon Tucker with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Durant Police Captain Ben Veenstra, and Lieutenant Mike Woodruff are now U.S. marshals. They'll have marshal authority to assist in tracking the most violent fugitives on the run.
The group is the first from the eastern Oklahoma division to be deputized.
John W. Loyd, U.S. Marshal, says, "By bringing everyone together for a common purpose it's a force multiplier. We expect to be able to arrest many more violent offenders by doing this."
The U.S. marshals are the federal agency for tracking fugitives. In Oklahoma last year, they caught 300 criminals.