Dawson discusses programs’ requirements, missions
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — Most Muscogee (Creek) citizens who have lived in the Muscogee (Creek) Nation jurisdiction are used to seeing the Lighthorse Tribal Police Department patrol vehicles out on the roads.
But many may not be familiar with some of the other outlets and programming this department has and offers to serve and protect.
The reserves and Explorers programs are part of these entities discussed by LTPD Game Ranger Joe Dawson in a ‘Mvskoke Radio’ interview.
While Mvskoke Media has covered some of these in the past, including Dawson’s position, he talked a little about his job to start off.
“I am police officer first and foremost; I am a Lighthorseman,” Dawson said. “The duties involve property crimes, illegal hunting, fishing, jumping, trespassing, those are more of my areas of expertise that I follow up on to keep our patrol guys working, taking care of their business.”
Dawson said his position allows him time to continue patrolling certain areas where citizens have complained about illicit activity on their properties that are in federal restricted status until he is able to see the issue for himself.
“I can go back and follow up if it’s an ongoing issue, you know it may take several months of patrolling to even spot any signs of anything so I’m fortunate that I have time to do that for the citizens,” he said.
Dawson is also a coordinator for the LTPD Explorers youth program, which according to their Facebook page is, ‘designed to give those that join a hands-on experience in law enforcement.’
“It’s part of Learning for Life, which is part of the Boy Scout program, he said. “Yes it is a lot of police work. We do involve them with the police department but as far as I’m concerned, it’s more of citizenship, learning those things that they really don’t teach them at school.”
He said the Explorers participate in law enforcement competitions with other posts, volunteer at community events such as helping elders with parking and seating as well as posting colors, and also learn Mvskoke culture.
An Explorers pamphlets states the program is open those who are: ages 14-21, in good health, living within the MCN jurisdiction and have good moral habits with no criminal records along with approval from a parent or guardian.
“Obviously if you’ve got a criminal record, as any police department around here, it’s sensitive material and that’s just not going to be an opportunity that’s going to be there,” he said.
He said the group usually meets every other Sunday and that he posts the details on the Lighthorse Explorers Post 106 Facebook page.
For more information about the Explorers email Dawson at: firstname.lastname@example.org call: 918-732-7847.
“You’ll have to leave a voicemail because being the game ranger I do have other duties so I’m not always in the office,” he said.
Dawson said the Explorers are a good extra curricular option outside of some more common activities.
“There is just that little group where you aren’t the athlete, you’re not really wanting to do academics but you want an extra-curricular; we’re probably a good outlet to at least look at,” he said. “Come in, sit down and enjoy a meeting with us.”
He said the reserve officer program is much like the Explorers in terms of getting law enforcement experience, “except they get full police powers when they complete their academy.”
“There is a general aptitude test, the state policy test, you’ll have to take the mental, the MMPI; you’ll have to pass that,” Dawson said. “And then complete the academy, which is 240 hours.”
He said the position is non-paid and a big commitment but a good opportunity to get into LTPD or other law enforcement.
“It’s a good way to get the officers to know who you are, be involved with our department,” Dawson said. “That kind of gives us some parameters that when we go to hiring, that may be the foot up you need.”
Dawson said LTPD is doing volunteer work of its own through community outreach started by Deputy Chief Daniel Wind.
“Like showing up to Council meetings,” he said. “We go to the community centers. There is just a lot of places that we can go and help,” he said. “We just got back yesterday from some training and I’d like to look at putting a program together for some seniors.”
Dawson said senior fraud is a big issue he would like to address through informational presentations and allowing victims to share their stories.
“Once it happens to you, you don’t want to tell anybody so hopefully us being out in the community, we can give them a resource to maybe, if not help them, at least we can help everybody else to understand this is a problem everywhere,” he said.
Dawson said to contact Wind to coordinate a date for LTPD outreach at the main number: 918-732-7800.