Tuesday, March 19, 2019

The Thin Blue Line: Lawton Police Department Pt 2


The Thin Blue Line
Wikimedia Commons, https://goo.gl/images/EYDtZS

By Alanna Radle Rodriguez and Judge Rodriguez

Thank you for joining us this month as we continue our series about first responders in our great state, Oklahoma.

First, allow us to say: we wish to pay our respects to the brave men and women of our military, and let them know our thoughts and prayers are with them, particularly those currently on deployment outside our country and away from their families.

However, we also wish to add our gratitude to those that serve outside of our military forces as well. Also called The Thin Blue Line, this group of dedicated public servants serve to keep us, our families, and our property safe. Our hats are off to you, and our gratitude for all you do.

Over the last few months, we have been delving into the history of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, and of the various police departments here in this great state. This month, we continue our look into the history of the Lawton, Oklahoma Police Department.

Last month, we ended with describing how former U.S. Marshall Heck Thomas was recruited to be a police chief and how he was able to get the police department whipped into shape. Heck was most notable for having captured Bill Doolin of the Doolin Dalton Gang. He served as the first chief of police for seven years, until his failing health required him to resign the position. He died in 1912 of Bright’s Disease, called by today’s terminology Acute Chronic Nephritis.

Throughout the history of the town, Military Police out of Fort Sill have assisted with some of the operations of the Lawton Police Department. They were also the ones that were in charge of training the new officers until 1965, when the Police Department started training their own officers.
In 1992, the Chief of Police voluntarily resigned after a dispute over a lawsuit that the city settled, about overtime. The original police force consisted of twenty eight officers, and a chief. Now the force employs one hundred seventy-eight officers and sixty-five civilians.
Thank you for being with us this month as we wrapped up our look into the Lawton Police Department. Please join us next month as we look into the history of the Light Horse Police in Oklahoma.

Born and raised in Edmond, Oklahoma, Alanna Radle Rodriguez is the great-great granddaughter of one of the first pioneers to settle in Indian Territory. Judge was born and raised in Little Axe, Oklahoma, the son of A.F. Veterans. Judge and Alanna love the history of the state and relish in volunteering at the 1889 Territorial Schoolhouse in Edmond. Her first published story, part of a collaborative novella titled Legacy Letters, came out September 2016. Alanna and Judge live with her parents in the Edmond area. They are currently collaborating on a historical fiction series that takes place in pre-statehood Oklahoma.