Letter to the editor: Association of Chiefs of Police say to vote no on SQ780 and SQ781

After a long and diligent deliberation, it is the position of the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police that we do not support State Question’s 780 or 781.

We have come to that position after hearing both sides of the issue and researching the consequences of adoption of State Questions 780 and 781. Our association at the September Quarterly meeting and the October monthly meeting reviewed all support and opposition data and prudently came to the position based on the following:

  • The SQ 780 makes the possession of illegal drugs, no matter what kind, no matter how many times the offender has violated the law, a misdemeanor.
  • SQ 780 makes thefts of a firearm a misdemeanor unless the value of the firearm exceeds $1000.
  • SQ 780 takes away the protective safe zones of schools for drug use or distribution by removing the enhanced charging/sentencing ability from the district attorney office.
  • In SQ 781, only two of the seventy-seven counties are currently positioned to provide the services outlined in this measure.

Lastly, we believe HB 2472 allows every district attorney the discretion to file the vast majority of nonviolent felony charges as misdemeanors, depending on the offender’s background, and this best addresses the reform concerns. We believe there is still room for reform in the criminal system and find the best avenue for these reforms is in the legislative process in lieu of a sweeping state question that has numerous concerns and operational deficiencies to even put the question in place.