County Finalizes Deputization Agreement Between Muscogee (Creek) Nation, Tulsa Sheriff

Jul 27, 2020

The Board of Tulsa County Commissioners on Monday approved an agreement between the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lighthorse Police and the Tulsa County Sheriff for law enforcement in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in McGirt v. Oklahoma.

Sheriff Vic Regalado said his deputies will be authorized to enforce laws on Muscogee (Creek) Nation land.

"It doesn’t give us a blanket, per se, to enforce everything. It just allows us to respond, and then dependent upon the circumstances of that crime, we either will contact the feds or we’ll contact the Creek Nation tribe," Regalado said.

The tribe expects an increase in the number of incidents it’s expected to handle, according to a National Council resolution approving the agreement.

Whether suspects or victims in a crime are tribal citizens would affect TCSO's involvement a case. Offenses on the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ major crimes list involving tribal citizens would be handled by federal authorities.

Lighthorse Police Chief Daniel Wind III said there will be some issues to work out yet.

"There’s questions such as warrants — how service is, where to apply for a search warrant — things like that, but in the interim, we’re following the guidelines to keep things going as they are," Wind said.

Tribal, federal, state and local governments have been debating the impact the McGirt decision will ultimately have on their jurisdictions. The Supreme Court found the Muscogee (Creek) Nation reservation was never dissolved.