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Letter to the Editor from Trooper David Storts

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Hello everyone. Due to the number of inquiries I have received, I felt compelled to explain the duties and responsibilities of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. You most likely are aware that each state is different; some states have a State Police, a State Patrol, or a Highway Patrol. The laws regulating each state can also be very different.

1- These are the laws that regulate the OHP: Oklahoma Title 47/ 2-117 and Oklahoma Attorney General Opinion 2006 #14 (which further clarifies 47/2-117).

2-In Oklahoma, we currently have a Highway Patrol that has statewide jurisdiction, but is limited in its investigative ability. In other words the OHP cannot take over the functions of a Sheriff’s Deputy or a city police officer, due to Oklahoma state laws.

3- Generally speaking, the OHP’s purpose is to investigate traffic collisions and patrol the highways, interstates, county roads, and if desired city streets, enforcing traffic laws. Any criminal law violations found as a result of a traffic stop are enforced as well.

4-The OHP can “back up” other agencies anywhere in the state and can “assist” when requested.

5-The OHP cannot be the primary investigator on burglary’s, domestic violence acts, assaults, thefts, disturbances, etc.

6- Wetumka is in the Troop D area of the OHP’s area of responsibility. I am the only State Trooper near the Wetumka area. I also patrol and take OHP calls for ALL of Hughes Co, Okfuskee Co, Seminole Co, and all of Interstate 40 from Earlsboro to Henryetta.

In closing, I will assist any other agency that requests assistance....90% of the time, I may very well be too far away to be much good. If you need help call 911, if a Wetumka City officer is not available, a Hughes County Deputy that is on duty will most likely be notified. However, they are busy and cover a huge area as well. Thank you and take care.

Trooper David Storts