The Osage Nation Police Department has started their own initiative to help make Osage County a safer place for Osage citizens.
The initiative, called “Operation Sweep,” started in March and the main focus has been the Pawhuska Indian Village.
“We wanted to work on our community policing so we turned our attention back to the villages,” said Osage Nation Chief of Police, Nick Williams.
Prior to the initiative, ONPD spent a great deal of time focusing on the Osage Casinos but still did security checks through the villages.
At the beginning of the year Williams (Osage) advised Osage Nation Principal Chief John Red Eagle about his initiative as well as the Osage Nation Congress.
“Both parties were excited and in full support of this plan,” Williams said. “We’ve had a positive outcome so far and we have more citizens approaching us with information.”
ONPD Sergeant Michael Fish, who works the day shift, is taking the initiative and community policing seriously.
“I have personally gone door to door in senior housing and other areas to introduce myself,” Fish said. “We’ve also had officers that have gone to community policing trainings given by CLEET.”
“We want to get rid of the persona of us that we don’t respond to calls and luckily we have citizens who are contacting us when they need help,” added Fish (Creek/Quechan/Mojave/Chemehuevi).
ON Police Officer, Patrick Luey, has moved into the Pawhuska Indian Village.
“I had to go before the Pawhuska Five-Man Board to be approved and they were very happy to have me move in,” said Luey (Osage).
Williams came up with the idea of “Operation Sweep” from a lot of resource gathering and assessing.
“I’ve listened to feedback from citizens and officers, meeting quarterly with the Tribal Chief Police of Oklahoma and being an active police chief,” he said.
According to ONPD’s Monthly Cumulative Drug Report for March and April, they seized nearly $15,000 in crystal methamphetamine as well as $900 in processed marijuana. Also, they had nearly 150 arrests.
“We want to stop the bad, coming into the villages and raise the standard of living in the community,” Fish said.
Luey said he had a citizen who does not live in the Pawhuska Indian Village tell him that they feel comfortable walking through the village now than before.
“We are the unofficial neighborhood watch for the Pawhuska Indian Village,” Luey added.
Luey said there has also been a decrease in crime at the Osage Casino in Pawhuska.
ONPD has received positive comments and feedback from patrons of the casino.
“It’s great because people realize I am here to serve you and I’m not just a guy with a badge, gun and a fast car,” Luey said.
ONPD has also made a bigger presence at the Osage Nation Day Cares and Head Starts, which actually began in 2012 prior to the Sandy Hook Elementary Shooting, according to Fish.
Not to mention, they will be at all the In-Lon-Schka dances in June.
“The dances will be the biggest time of the year to do community policing,” Fish said. “We will go out there with all do respect to the Osage culture, but we will not tolerate drunkenness and drug use.”
ONPD plans to expand “Operation Sweep” to the Hominy and Grayhorse Indian Villages.
“Our hands are in a lot of different places, but we are making it happen,” Williams said.