3-3-05 - The Chickasaw Nation is calling their new police department a success after just a few short months on the job. The Chickasaw Lighthorse Police Department began late last year, but has already assisted several local law enforcement agencies with numerous investigations and arrests from robberies to drug crimes.
Tribal leaders say rapid expansion of the Chickasaw LPD means a wealth of additional resources are now available to all law enforcement agencies within tribal boundaries. The department has 13 sworn officers with a total of more than 100 years of law enforcement experience in numerous specialties.
They can provide a variety of assistance including three K-9 units, narcotics investigators, terrorism response, domestic violence investigators and other specially trained officers.
Jason O'Neal, Chief of the department, formed in October, 2004, said he has developed close working relationships with several local agencies including city police and sheriff offices in Pontotoc, Murray, Garvin and Love Counties.
"With a majority of the Chickasaws, and the Indian population in general, in this area living off of Indian (trust) land, one focus we have is providing assistance to the cities and counties, because that directly impacts the Chickasaw citizens that live in those areas," said Chief O'Neal. "By assisting their law enforcement, that not only helps the Chickasaw citizens, it also helps everyone within the tribe's boundaries by making this a better, safer place to live.
Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said the department has grown even more quickly than he had imagined.
"Knowing that the Lighthorse Police Department has been able to make such a positive difference in such a short period of time is very satisfying," said Governor Anoatubby. "Historical accounts show the original Chickasaw Lighthorse Police Department had an outstanding reputation for their crime fighting efforts, and this new department is already developing a similar reputation."
Daryl McCurtain, Murray County under-sheriff, said the LPD is "an excellent resource."