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Local law enforcement and ONPD honor the life of Investigator Brian Herbert

Investigator Herbert died suddenly on April 17 during his yearly mandatory firearms qualification in Hominy.

A procession of police vehicles escorted Investigator Brian Herbert to his final resting place in Blackwell on Tuesday.

Herbert, who was an Investigator for the Osage Nation Attorney General’s office, died suddenly on April 17 during his yearly mandatory firearms qualification in Hominy.

According to a Facebook post by the ON Police Department: “This crucial training, involving strenuous physical activities, took place at a range located near Hominy, Oklahoma. After successfully completing the qualification with his pistol, Brian proceeded to reload his magazines in preparation for the rifle assessment.

“During this process, Brian began experiencing symptoms of discomfort, including heartburn and a sensation of overheating. Recognizing the signs, he promptly sought relief in the shade to cool down. Despite these efforts, Brian’s condition quickly deteriorated, leading to a sudden onset of chest pain and a subsequent loss of consciousness. His colleagues acted swiftly, initiating CPR while awaiting the arrival of medical assistance. Subsequently, an ambulance rushed Brian to the Cleveland Area Hospital, yet tragically, despite all attempts at resuscitation, Investigator Herbert could not be revived.”

Herbert, 56, was born in Tulsa and graduated from Will Rogers High School in 1986. He joined the United States Army and after his service ended, he attended the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Academy in 1995. Throughout his life he sought to further his education. He attended Beckfield College for business studies from 2003 to 2006, the University of Kentucky for law school from 2001 to 2003.

His law enforcement career spanned 28 years, half his life.

“Brian proudly dedicated himself to serving with the Osage Nation Police Department since 2007. … Brian’s unwavering commitment extended to various agencies, including the Collinsville Police Department in Oklahoma, Walters Police Department in Oklahoma, Barnsdall Police Department in Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University Police Department, Logan County Sheriff’s Office in Oklahoma, Sparta Police Department in Kentucky, and the Clay City Police Department, where he even assumed the role of Interim Chief of Police in Kentucky,” according to the ONPD.

Herbert joined the Nation’s AG office as its investigator in 2010.

“The Osage Nation Office of the Attorney General is deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Investigator Brian Herbert. Our office and the Nation lost a great man, friend, and employee,” said a statement from the AG’s office. “Brian served under three Attorneys General, and his impact on the Office of the Attorney General and the Nation is immeasurable. Brian took pride in his work and owned his responsibility to do the best he could. “Over the last fourteen years, Brian’s investigations led to numerous criminal and civil complaints and brought justice to victims, the Osage Nation, and the Osage People. But most of all, Brian was a great guy who loved having fun and was a joy in the office. Rest in peace, friend; you will be missed by all of us.”

Herbert was known for his warm personality and love for people. He found joy in simple pleasures like mowing the lawn, cooking delicious meals during holidays, and decorating for special occasions. An avid OU Football fan, his enthusiasm for the sport was unwavering. In his leisure time, he enjoyed activities such as golfing and fishing on Kaw Lake while also ensuring the well-being of his beloved animals. His dedication extended beyond work into his personal hobbies and interests, according to his obituary.

He is survived by his devoted wife, Judge Lisa Otipoby Herbert of the home, along with his sister Robin Elmore and her husband Fred of Webber Falls, Okla.; mother-in-law, Carla Otipoby of Blackwell, Okla.; and brother-in-law, Scott Otipoby of Topeka, Kans.

The ONPD placed his police car and a wreath of white flowers in front of their offices on the lawn of the Osage Nation Law Building. The Osage Nation lowered its flags to half-staff.

The ONPD ended their Facebook post with this message: “Brian leaves behind cherished memories in the hearts of his beloved wife, sister, uncle, mother-in-law, and brother-in-law. May his legacy of service and dedication be remembered with honor and respect.”

Osage Nation Police Department memorialized Investigator Brian Herbert’s police car in his memory and parked it in front of the ONPD’s offices in the Osage Nation Law Building. ECHO REED/Osage News


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Shannon Shaw Duty
Shannon Shaw Duty

Title: Editor


Twitter: @dutyshaw

Topic Expertise: Columnist, Culture, Community

Languages spoken: English, Osage (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)

Shannon Shaw Duty, Osage from the Grayhorse District, is the editor of the award-winning Osage News, the official independent media of the Osage Nation. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in Legal Studies with an emphasis in Indigenous Peoples Law. She currently sits on the Freedom of Information Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. She has served as a board member for LION Publishers, as Vice President for the Pawhuska Public Schools Board of Education, on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (now Indigenous Journalists Association) and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee. She is a Chips Quinn Scholar, a former instructor for the Freedom Forum’s Native American Journalism Career Conference and the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. She is a former reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican. She is a 2012 recipient of the Native American 40 Under 40 from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive NAJA's Elias Boudinot Free Press Award. The Osage News won Best Newspaper from the SPJ-Oklahoma Chapter in their division 2018-2022. Her award-winning work has been published in Indian Country Today, The Washington Post, the Center for Public Integrity, NPR, the Associated Press, Tulsa World and others. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and together they share six children, two dogs and two cats.


Investigator Brian Herbert's graveside services were in Blackwell, not Ponca City. The Osage News regrets the error.

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