Police Chief Clay Mahaney recently announced his bid for re-election to a second term.
During his tenure, Mahaney, a 26-year law enforcement veteran, has implemented many changes in the department.
He began by dedicating an officer to the drug task force. According to Mahaney, joining forces with the District 27 DTF has since served as an asset to the city and the rest of the community.
“We have reaped the benefits of several arrests and convictions including the seizure of 1,000 pounds of marijuana that was seized while coming through our city,” Mahaney said. “Our unification with other local, state and federal agencies targeted a long-time drug problem, and netted several arrests, along with seizures that included real estate within the city.”
The department’s affiliation with the District 27 Drug Task Force has meant more than 200 arrests during the last four years, along with the seizure of 150 methamphetamine labs, with about one-third of those within the Tahlequah city limits. The department also has members who participate in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Eastern District of Oklahoma Violent Crime Task Force.
“We have partnered with these groups for two main reasons: I believe cooperation and working together reaps benefits for law enforcement, and we want to provide the best protection possible for the citizens of Tahlequah,” Mahaney said. “Our people deserve the best law enforcement and I believe we give them that.”
Mahaney said the working relationship with all of our law enforcement agencies is at the highest it has ever been.
“That is one subject that I promised I would do and I have done it, the community is a much safer place when all departments work together for the people.”
Education and continued training has also been TPD’s agenda during Mahaney’s time at the helm. Officers were trained in specialized fields, a K-9 handler and another K-9, “Bo,” was acquired to replace the recently retired K-9, “Duke.”
“We also have an officer who has received training as a drug recognition expert, giving us two officers trained in that field; also an officer trained in the DARE program to teach our students how to resist drugs, violence and bullying in our schools,” said Mahaney.
“We were also involved with a multi-jurisdictional training with several local and state law enforcement agencies along with our local schools at the vo-tech to illustrate how officers respond to the threat of an active shooter in schools.”
School zones are monitored closely by police to keep children safe on their way to and from school.
“New vehicles and equipment have been purchased, while continuing to stay within the budget,” said Mahaney. “Our fleet is one of the main things we have to keep up to provide the best possible protection for our city. Arrests were also made on our major violent crimes, including a recent double homicide, and a home invasion where homeowners were assaulted and property was taken.”
During Mahaney’s tenure, the department has continued to be a partner with Help-In-Crisis, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s office on an Encourage to Arrest grant that targets domestic violence and sexual assault cases. The department took 21 sexual assault reports from January to June that resulted in 19 arrests and 67 domestic assault reports that netted 62 apprehensions. Two arrests have also been made in cases where adult men were targeting underage girls on the Internet.
Mahaney has maintained an open-door policy throughout his term, and invites his employees, as well as the citizens, to come by and visit with him about their concerns.
Mahaney, a 1982 Tahlequah High School graduate, has worked for the Stilwell and Tahlequah police departments. He has been a DARE officer, and is a former Buckledown Award winner for his efforts in traffic safety.
The chief attended Northeastern State University and is a Cherokee tribal citizen, as well as a member of the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Cherokee County Cattlemans Association and Cherokee Masonic Lodge No. 10. He has received training from the Oklahoma Municipal League for newly elected officials, and has more than 1,000 hours of CLEET training.
Mahaney is the son of Katie and the late Clyde Mahaney. He and wife Autumn are longtime Tahlequah residents. The couple has two children and two grandchildren. Mahaney is of the Baptist faith.
“I have accomplished some of my goals for the city and department, but still have some to meet,” Mahaney said. “I hope you will consider my record for the last four years and choose to re-elect me as your chief of police so I can continue to help TPD grow and prosper and meet more of my goals for this agency.”
Police Chief Clay Mahaney recently announced his bid for re-election to a second term.
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Jackson takes prize
Cherokee Heritage Center Museum Curator Mickel Yantz kicked off his 10th anniversary at the venue with the opening of the 43rd annual Trail of Tears Art Show this past Friday.
“The Trail of Tears show was my first exhibit opening when I arrived 10 years ago,” said Yantz. “Since that time, the show has changed so dramatically; we’ve added so many new artists, and the art work has excelled over time. It’s like Christmas for me.”
Yantz said he was exceptionally pleased with the opening reception.
“We had a fantastic turnout,” said Yantz. “We had a lot of fun and sold some artwork, which is great for opening night.”
The exhibit is on display at the Cherokee Heritage Center through May 26. This year’s show features 130 pieces of art spanning eight different categories, including basketry, graphics, jewelry, miniature, painting, pottery and sculpture.
Some NSU students find Church of Monett offensive
They turn heads every time they show up on campus, and some students at Northeastern State University are offended by their presence.
The Church of Monett, Mo., has made periodic trips to Tahlequah to stage quiet demonstrations in public campus spaces in recent years. They carry signs that read, “Wives, Obey your Husbands,”; “To be Married to the divorced is Adultery”; and “Don’t be deceived: fornicators homosexuals idolaters adulterers thieves drunkards - shall not inherit God’s Kingdom.”
Teen sent to hospital after being struck by tractor-trailer
An 18-year-old Tahlequah man was struck by a tractor-trailer early Tuesday morning on the State Highway 51 bypass near Mimosa Lane.
Tahlequah Police Capt. Tom Jones said officers responded to the scene at about 5:40 a.m., when Sage Sohns was found injured and lying in the road. A medical helicopter responded to the scene to transport Sohns to a Tulsa hospital, where he was being treated for a closed-head injury, police said.
TPS board hears architect presentations for cafeteria
Members of the Tahlequah Public Schools Board of Education heard from four architectural firms seeking a contract for construction at Cherokee Elementary School.
TPS plans to build a cafeteria-auditorium and a music room with a stage, which may also serve as a safe room during storms.
Local man hit with assault, burglary charges
Prosecutors have formally charged a Tahlequah man accused of breaking into a motel room, tying a rope around a man’s neck and stabbing him repeatedly with a syringe.
Jimmy Dale Briggs Jr., 33, is charged with first-degree burglary, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and two counts of threatening to perform an act of violence.
Boy whose mom scolded deputies in trouble again
Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 15-year-old theft suspect Monday night after he allegedly assaulted his brother.
Deputy Kim Novak said authorities were dispatched to a home and ultimately took the teen into custody. While there, they also discovered items that had been reported stolen, including a bed and several tools.
Novak said the teen is the same boy who has previously been found to be in possession of stolen items.
Plane crash victims recovering
Two Arkansas men remained in a Tulsa hospital Monday after the plane they were flying crashed into a wooded area in Cookson.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the 1946 Ercoupe 415 crashed under “unknown circumstances” about a mile from the Tenkiller Air Park in Cookson Saturday morning.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says 75-year-old John McCreary and 85-year-old Albert Demarco Jr., both of Ozark, Ark., were flown from Cookson to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa.
Man taken for blood sample confuses hospital with hotel
Tahlequah police say an Austin, Texas, man stopped Saturday mistook a local hospital for a hotel when he was taken to have his blood drawn.
Officer Cory Keele’s affidavit says 20-year-old Terrance Walker was driving south on Muskogee Avenue at about 2 a.m. Saturday, swerving from one line to another.
Keele tried to stop the car near Muskogee and Chickasaw, and Walker eventually slowed to a stop near South Street.
Walker opened the car door as Keele approached. The officer said Walker had dilated pupils.
Knife-cutting incident lands man in jail
A Tahlequah man jailed for allegedly cutting a woman with a kitchen knife was released on a recognizance bond Monday.
Scottie Lee Ennis, 42, was arrested after Officer Austin Yates was sent to Tahlequah City Hospital late Friday night.
There, Yates spoke with Jennifer Pennell, who had apparently suffered a stab wound to her arm.
Pennell told Yates she and her husband, Ennis, had gone to Dewain’s Place earlier in the evening, and while at the bar, a man bought her a drink.
Tahlequah man bonds out after arrest for assault
A 22-year-old Tahlequah man bonded out of jail Monday after his weekend arrest on domestic assault charges.
Jeremy Hawley was booked into jail Sunday for domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor and interfering with a 911 call.
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