A proposal to combine multiple state law enforcement agencies into one single agency received the stamp of approval in the Senate.
Senate Bill 1561, by Sen. Ralph Shortey and Rep. Mike Christian, would create the Oklahoma Department of Law Enforcement (ODLE), and bring three separate law enforcement agencies under one umbrella, merging them into four divisions reporting to a single superintendent. The proposed legacy divisions are:
- Oklahoma Highway Patrol (uniformed division)
- Oklahoma Department of Public Safety (administration and support division)
- Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (investigative division)
- Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs Control (narcotics division)
Under the provisions of the bill, the current administrative structure of existing agencies would be eliminated and would transfer the duties of each newly formed ODLE division to the seven member council, the OSBI Commission, OBNDD Commission or the Commissioner of Public Safety.
“By streamlining law enforcement into a single agency, we’ll take a tremendous step towards a system that will be more efficient, more cost effective and all around a better system than what’s currently in place,” said Shortey.
SB1561 is headed to the House. If passed and signed into law, all power, authorities, and responsibilities of the current agencies would transfer to the ODLE agency on December 1.