By JOSH NEWTON
Tahlequah’s new chief of police met with the department’s employees Monday during his first official day on the job.
Chief of Police Nate King was sworn into office, along with four other elected city officials, and held a mandatory meeting at the police department just a couple hours later.
King said he first wants to focus on improving morale inside the department.
“I don’t foresee any major changes [immediately]... ,” said King. “There will be some redistribution of manpower in the near future, but it’ll be in a couple weeks.”
King said the police department will need to fill positions for a full-time dispatcher in the coming weeks, as well as a part-time clerical position. He’ll also have one promotion to make with the retirement of Lt. Clint Keys. The promotion to lieutenant must be made from within the ranks of the department as part of an agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police.
King said Monday’s meeting also gave him a chance to talk about the importance of the department serving its community. As the new chief, King promised to be accountable and to follow the policies that are in place during his tenure.
“In my campaign, I talked a lot about the chief being accountable,” King said after he was sworn into office Monday. “There’s not going to be any ‘Do as I say, not as I do.’ I think we have a great group of officers, ... and I look forward to serving Tahlequah with fairness and vision.”
Tahlequah Municipal Judge Donn Baker also swore in Street Commissioner Mike Corn, who won a re-election bid; Ward 1 Councilor Diane Weston and City Clerk Deb Corn, both of whom drew no opponents for their seats; and Dr. Charles Carroll, who was elected to replace Jack Spears as the councilor for Ward 2. Treasurer Lanny Williams, who is also starting a new four-year term, did not attend the event, but was expected to be sworn into office as early as Tuesday.