The Tahlequah police chief is urging the public to conserve power amid the extra demand to power grids.
During his weekly Chief Chat Monday, Nate King thanked the community for the endless donations the Tahlequah Police Department received for the temporary shelter.
“I want to say thank you to the citizens, to the businesses that have come forward with donations this week [as well as] food, clothing, blankets,” said King. “We have distributed a little over 100 blankets and about 75 coats. Officers have spent most of the week beating the brush, looking for encampments and trying to offer the police department to people in need.”
Two people used the TPD as a shelter over the weekend.
“One of those individuals went home today and their family picked them up and took them somewhere else. So right now, we have one person staying full-time [at the jail],” said King.
Officers and community members have been out and about, gathering resources and trying to persuade others to seek shelter at the jail.
“I talked to Emergency Management this morning and they are anticipating anywhere from another 4 to 8 inches of snow between now and Thursday,” said King. “We’re not out of it yet; cold temperatures are still here, so stay warm.”
King said the PD received close to 1,000 calls last week, and most of those were for domestic issues.
“Reports of domestic violence and domestics in progress have been up compared to most weeks this week,” he said. “People being cooped up inside — we’ve responded to a lot more domestics.”
Officers are equipped with blankets and coats to pass out to those in need.
“I’ve been extremely proud of the work they’ve done this week, going and trying to find people to offer assistance to them. They’ve spend a lot of time, after dark in the cold and in the snow, walking the woods and looking for people who need a place to stay,” said King.
King warned of the distinct possibility of power outages during the brutal cold and snowy weather.
“Conserve parts of your home, turn off lights when you’re not in rooms, turn the heat down a few degrees, because our power grid is under strain right now,” said King. “With the temperatures and whatnot, some of our alternate sources of power — solar and wind both — have not been producing lately.”
King said in the event Tahlequah and Cherokee County experience a blackout, TPD has a generator that will allow for heating, lights, and hot water.
“If anybody needs anything, you can come to the police department as a warming station. You don’t have to stay or spending the night, but you can come just [to] congregate and be warm,” said King. "We can probably hold about 100-150 people all total.”
King will go live on the TPD Facebook page on Monday, Feb. 22 at noon.