(OKLAHOMA CITY, September 1, 2015) Oklahoma’s law enforcement community will be traveling to Tulsa Tuesday to educate the public and to address what some have called misinformation recently presented by the author of a controversial bill that may be considered in the 2016 Oklahoma Legislature.
SB 838 by Senator Kyle Loveless would make sweeping changes to the state’s civil asset forfeiture laws that law enforcement says would unnecessarily hinder their efforts and make Oklahoma a safe haven for drug cartels.
The Oklahoma Senate will conduct an official Interim Study in Tulsa on Tuesday to learn more about asset forfeiture procedures and the concerns of law enforcement.
Originally requested by Loveless, the Interim Study will be held at the Tulsa Police Department Academy. Late last week however, Loveless decided to withdraw from the Senate Study and will convene a ‘panel meeting’ at the State Capitol instead.
District Attorney Mike Fields said he wasn’t sure why the Tulsa location was apparently fine for Senator Loveless on an August 26th Facebook post but was not acceptable just two days later when he decided to withdraw from the Tulsa study. “The reason for Senator Loveless’ about face isn’t clear to me, but what is clear is that Oklahomans’ rights are not being violated by Oklahoma’s asset forfeiture laws and his bill will hinder Oklahoma’s prosecutors and law enforcement from targeting drug cartels and criminal street gangs in particular. We’re planning to participate in the official interim study as directed by the Oklahoma Senate.”
Specifically regarding the bill, Fields said, “It’s just common sense that drug dealers and traffickers shouldn’t be allowed to keep the money they make from selling drugs. They use the money they make to produce more drugs and destroy more lives and more families. They shouldn’t be allowed to profit from the devastation they cause. We’re opposed to any measure that will make it easier for them to do that, and that’s exactly what this bill will do.”
Presenting in opposition to the measure in Tulsa will be Oklahoma Department of Public Safety Commissioner and Governor’s Cabinet Secretary Michael Thompson, Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Director Darrell Weaver, Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty, Tulsa Police Major Eric Dalgleish, Canadian County Undersheriff Chris West, District Attorney Fields, and others.
The Tulsa Police Academy is located at 6066 East 66th Street North in Tulsa. The law enforcement presentations are set to begin at 1:30 after those in favor of the legislation are allowed to speak in the morning. The public is encouraged to attend.
“Oklahoma’s prosecutors and law enforcement officers are offended by the assertion that we’re violating Oklahomans’ rights. We take our oaths to support, obey, and defend the Constitution very seriously. While it’s certainly odd to me that Senator Loveless is not participating in the interim study he requested, we’ll be there. We’re looking forward to showing the public why his bill is misguided,” Fields said.