Last week’s Supreme Court decision recognizing that Native Americans living in the eastern part of Oklahoma are not subject to state law enforcement has trickled down to the Muskogee Police Department.
Cities derive their authority from the state, so the decision directly affects the Muskogee Police force.
“The City of Muskogee Police Department is actively engaged in working with Tribal, State and Federal authorities including Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lighthorse Police to ensure the rights of Native Americans are protected in light of the McGirt decision,” Muskogee Police Public Information Officer Lynn Hamlin said. “It will now be necessary during any enforcement contact, for an officer with the Muskogee Police Department to inquire whether an individual is an enrolled member of any federally recognized tribe.”
That requirement fits both victims and suspects in crimes, since the high court decision makes it clear that either one would trigger tribal jurisdiction.
“As all officers of the Muskogee Police Department are cross-deputized with the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lighthorse Police, this information will, if the situation warrants, assist the officer in determining where jurisdiction for the matter lies,” she said. “Offenders of the law will still be prosecuted.”
The change is effective immediately.