Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

December 30, 2013

Bickel to retire from post at detention center

TAHLEQUAH — When Cherokee County officials decided to build a new detention center northwest of Tahlequah nearly eight years ago, they selected Loyd Bickel as the facility’s first administrator.

“When they hired me, the roof wasn’t on; it wasn’t complete at all, so I began that process of creating policies, hiring staff, getting uniforms and badges – all the things that go into making the jail operational,” said Bickel. “It was quite a project, but yet it’s been very satisfying.”

Bickel has now stepped aside, and his retirement is expected to be official March 1, 2014.

While Bickel will make himself available if needed until March 1, CCDC Assistant Administrator T.J. Girdner has been named the interim administrator, according to Cherokee County commissioner and jail board member Bobby Botts.

“He’s on administrative leave; that was a board decision,” Botts said of Bickel. “He’ll be paid [until his retirement is finalized]. He’s been out there for seven years and has done a lot of good. He’s kept things going good; the jail’s in good shape, it’s paid off, and he wants to retire.”

Members of the Cherokee County Governmental Building Authority, which oversees jail operations, will begin taking applications for a new administrator in March, Botts said.

CCDC has 150 beds and averages 115 to 120 inmates. Bickel estimates 18,000 people have been through the jail since it opened.

“It’s in really good shape; financially, it is very, very fortunate,” said Bickel. “There are some good assets there now, good buildings, the jail’s in good shape. It’s probably the best time to leave because it is running so smooth. I’m available to them, but they’re not going to need me.”

Bickel is proud of the progress made by the jail’s staff since the center first became operational.

“Out of 31 employees, there were probably eight that had experience when we first began the project,” he said. “I was pretty much there for the first couple of months non-stop. It can be real easy to walk into a place that’s already operational and start fixing some things, but it’s a whole other story to start it from the ground up.”

Along the way, Bickel and other staff have faced some turmoil in the jail, including a lawsuit alleging the use of excessive force.

“You operate a facility, you can never operate it without some sort of either lawsuit or problem,” said Bickel. “It’s just the nature of that operation – you’re going to have some issues. You just have to lessen the odds of how bad things can be. It’s a difficult job, and I don’t know of a jail around that doesn’t have a problem, but I think if you compare the state of our jail to others around, you’ll see our facility is in really good shape.”

Bickel began working for the Muskogee Police Department in 1980.

After six years, he began working for the Muskogee County sheriff, where he spent 12 years. He later ran an unsuccessful campaign to be the Muskogee County sheriff, and became a jail inspector for the state for about five years.

“I then traveled as personal security for Richard and Lindsay Roberts, Oral Roberts’ son, for almost five years,” said Bickel.

“I had a great time, and it was a great opportunity. Then I decided I wanted to put my feet on the ground and not travel so much. A friend of mine told me about Cherokee County’s opening for an administrator, and I put in my application along with eight other applicants.”

Bickel said the support of county officials has been “wonderful” over the years, but now he looks forward to moving on with his life away from the jail.

“We’ve got a church down there at Choctaw and Cherokee, Crossroads Church, in Tahlequah, and we have a motorcycle ministry out of there,” said Bickel.

 “I also ride with the Patriot Guard Riders, who escort military funerals, so these are some things I want to focus on now. After 33 years, I’ve just decided that it is time for me to do some things I really want to do.”


Text Only
Local News
  • ts-Trail-show-1.jpg 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.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • churchguy.jpg 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.”

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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.

    April 16, 2014

  • 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.

    April 16, 2014

  • Briggs.jpg 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.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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.

    April 16, 2014

  • plane-crash-1-a.jpg 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.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • walker-terrance.jpg 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.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • ennis-scottie.jpg 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.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • hawley-jeremy.jpg 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.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Royal Couple Visits Australia Mountains Raw: Pro-Russian Militants Killed on Base Captain of Sunken South Korean Ferry Apologizes Boston Bombing Survivors One Year Later Sister of Slain MIT Officer Reflects on Bombing Raw: Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant Kills 1 Hoax Bomb Raises Anxiety in Boston Egypt Clamps Down on Mosques to Control Message After Fukushima, Japan Eyes Solar Power New York Auto Show Highlights Latest in Car Tech Ex-California City Leader Gets 12 Year Sentence Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict?