Johnston County Sheriff’s Office sworn in as federal officers

Plamedie Ifasso
The Daily Ardmoreite

Johnston County Sheriff’s Office now holds special law enforcement commissions as specialized deputies of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The sheriff, undersheriff and multiple deputies were sworn in as federal officers last Friday. Johnston County Sheriff’s Office is the sheriff’s office within Chickasaw Nation and the second within the Choctaw Nation to hold this federal commission. 

Johnston County Sheriff Gary Dodd said before the department would investigate alleged crimes and then hand it off to the prosecutor’s, but this commission allows the office to respond to potential federal crimes that happen in tribal land. 

“Instead of having to have a federal solicitor or a federal liaison from a different federal agency, we can now submit charges from our office to the Eastern District of Oklahoma, U.S Attorney's office to the federal courts,” Dodd said. “This also gives us some added security with the federal tort claim protection.” 

Johnston County Sheriff Gary Dodd said the special deputization cuts out the middleman and allows the department to respond to and investigate crime in tribal boundaries.

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Dodd said that about 95% of the office holds the federal commission and the rest are in the training process. The sheriff’s office started the process about five or six months ago. Dodd got in touch with BIA before the Bosse decision was released.

In order to get the commission, besides filling out the necessary paperwork, Dodd said that BIA sent investigators to look through the department’s paperwork and personal files to make sure it was compatible with theirs. The officers also went through training over tribal country law, and because Dodd and most of the deputies have previously worked for a tribe before, Dodd said the training was seamless. 

“We’re happy to work with our federal and tribal partners in continuing to make our communities safe and have a seamless response to any crimes that happen in our county,” Dodd said. “The deputies continue to work those crimes as we always have and to make sure our community is served to the best of our ability.”