OKMULGEE, Okla. – The Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lighthorse Tribal Department covers a broad jurisdiction including eight counties and three partial counties, and it still finds time to pay it forward. The MCN Lighthorse has made it their mission to give back to the communities and to its Muscogee (Creek) citizens.
The MCN Lighthorse has 47 sworn officers and 11 reserve officers that cover parts of Oklahoma and are cross-commissioned with 34 other law enforcement entities in Oklahoma.
According the MCN Lighthorse Chief of Police Robert Hawkins, the cross-commissioning agreement with each agency is a cross deputy intergovernmental agreement that enables MCN Lighthorse to work jointly with other agencies when assistance is needed on the MCN side and vice versa.
Backing other agencies is vital through criminal investigations, special operations, a dive team, tactical unit and other aspects of law enforcement. The department strives to give back to the communities and being involved.
“We are very well involved in our community and our community policing has really gone to the next level when it comes to our communities,” Hawkins said. “We try to be involved with our community centers with meetings and having lunch when we can with elders and we just really encourage our officers to stay involved.”
For the past three years, the department has participated in Shop with a Cop in McIntosh County taking underprivileged children shopping for Christmas gifts.
The department also makes an effort to visit schools and Head Start programs to provide safety lessons, which often times include dressing up as ‘Eddy the Eagle’ to promote gun safety.
Officers also visit elementary schools to provide D.A.R.E. curriculum in an effort to promote drug and substance abuse prevention.
MCN Lighthorse Deputy Chief Daniel Wind III said the agency has a group of officers called TOPS, which stands for Tribal Oriented Policing Specialists. This group of officers visit programs and teach anything from defensive tactics for elders to drug awareness and internet awareness to children.
“We make sure all of our TOPS officers choose what they specialize in,” Wind said. “We allow them to pick what is close to their heart, if you will. Whether it’s working with children or working with college students and talking about drugs and alcohol and so forth.”
Both Hawkins and Wind are proud of the MCN Lighthorse men and women but also the fellow agencies they work with daily.
“We are quite proud of our men and women here,” Hawkins said. “Their accomplishments and training they pursue and just how they are with our community with our elders, with our children and with our youth. You know, we are a well-respected agency and we are quite proud of our department and it’s an honor and privilege to be able to work with these other agencies within our communities.”
The MCN Lighthorse was also the first Tribal Police Exploring Post in the state of Oklahoma, which is an Exploring Program through the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women ages 14-21 who are interested in careers in law enforcement.
Through the MCN Explorer Post, native and non-native youth participate within the MCN jurisdiction to get the experience of law enforcement, as well as learning leadership skills and community service.
“We teach them not just law enforcement,” Wind said. “We teach them traffic stops and so forth but we also teach them civics and also teach them respect. We teach them our culture.”
MCN Lighthorse began the program in 2003 and has since employed former explorers as Lighthorse officers.
Wind said one explorer became a dispatcher, then a reserve officer and eventually was hired as a full-time officer, along with other explorer success stories.
For more information on the MCN Lighthorse and services provided to the communities, visit: https://www.mcn-nsn.gov/services/lighthorse-police/.