Monday, March 2, 2020

Lane Announces Bid for Second Term as Sheriff

Sequoyah County Sheriff Larry Lane

Sequoyah County Sheriff Larry Lane recently announced that he is running for his second term.

Lane said he has brought many changes to the sheriff’s department.

“When I took office in January of 2017,” Lane said, “I quickly realized that I had inherited the least-trained and most poorly equipped law enforcement agency that I had ever seen. I have the belief that the more skilled training our officers receive, the better and safer they will perform their duties. So I have more than doubled the amount of quality training for each deputy.”

“I also saw the very lacking technology the sheriff’s office had. We were the only law enforcement agency in the county that didn’t have body cameras. So we immediately went to work buying body cameras for the deputies. Since they were put into use, we have had numerous incidents in which body-worn cameras have saved officers and citizens from court actions. They have also been used to help in the prosecution of many criminal cases.”

“We were also one of the few agencies that did not have computers in the patrol units (when I became sheriff). So we went to work to obtain computers. Now we have them and the deputies can not only run tags and driver’s licenses without tying the radio up, they can also access their report forms, complete reports from the field and send them to the printer at the sheriff’s office. This saves the deputies from driving back to Sallisaw to enter and print every report, thus saving fuel and mileage.”

“We have made so many changes, so many improvements and overcome so many obstacles and tragedies in the last three years,” Lane said, “that looking back, I just can’t believe we made it through it.”

“In my campaign for sheriff in 2016, I only made two promises, and I can proudly say that those two promises were kept! Those promises were (1) Law enforcement, not politics. We enforce the law fairly and equally, no matter who you are, no matter how rich you are, who you’re related to or what political party you belong to. If they commit felonies, domestic abuse or sell drugs, they went to jail. (2) That we would pursue drug dealers and thieves harder and more relentlessly than they ever had been before. As a result, we have done more drug raids and arrested more drug dealers and thieves than ever before in Sequoyah County.”

“In the last five years of the previous administration, the sheriff’s office did a total of only four drug raids. In my first year alone, we did 57 drug raids and have done a total of 144 in my first three years.” Lane noted that “along with all the drug raids comes lots of recovered stolen property and solved burglaries.”

“Some of the other obstacles and tragedies that we have had to overcome in my first three years are four officer-involved shootings, including the one that I was personally involved in. My dad was murdered in a neighboring county. Two homicides (both solved). The largest flood in modern history. A major train derailment. Two tornadoes touched down, leaving massive destruction in their paths. One deputy was struck by a moving vehicle while he was standing on the side of the road.”

“We’ve had to pay huge fines from unpaid retirement benefits, due to the previous administration not paying their bills. We’ve had to replace all seven heat-and-air units in the jail at a price of $7,000 each. We’ve had to replace both hot water boilers in the jail at a price of $20,000. Several of the electronically controlled doors in the jail were not working when I took office. These were repaired at a cost of over $4,000.” 

Among other changes made to the department since he’s been sheriff, Lane said, “I have placed a criminal interdiction officer on Interstate 40 to work alongside the Oklahoma Highway Patrol’s criminal interdiction team. My deputy has brought in over $400,000 cash to the department as well as taking several wanted felons and tons of dangerous drugs and guns off the street. I now have four K-9 units in the department, giving me a drug dog on duty on every shift. This has been a huge asset to our department as well as helping the local police departments when they call for a drug dog.”

“We have a great group of reserve deputies that have gone through a very strict training regimen. They volunteer their time to help the sheriff’s office and the citizens of Sequoyah County. I hire my full-time deputies out of the jail staff or reserve deputy pool. They have been trained in the classroom and in the field by our professional deputies as well as some of the best instructors in the state.

“We also have one of the best search-and-rescue teams in the state, and probably the best in our region. I get calls from all over Oklahoma and Arkansas asking for our search-and-rescue team to help locate missing persons and wanted escapees. Our team also travels all over to train other search-and-rescue teams. “They are the best there is. I’m proud to have them here in Sequoyah County.”

“We have also aggressively pursued every grant possible in these three years. We have gotten 12 grants in my three years so far, and are in the process of applying for two more.”

“Something else that I am very proud of is that I was able to turn the inmate work crew program, which was previously a part-time position, into a full-time position. My work crew supervisor, Luke Tucker, has the inmates out every day of the week, and sometimes on weekends, doing everything from picking up trash along the highways and county roadways to cemetery clean-up. They even painted the entire hospital in Sallisaw, as well as the rodeo grounds and one of the school buildings at Roland. This program gives the low-risk and nonviolent inmates a chance to give back to the community and for the most part, the inmates love the work and have some pride about what they’ve accomplished.”

“I absolutely love this job and love working for the people of Sequoyah County. When I took office, I took an oath, not only to protect the citizens and their property, but to also defend the Constitution of the United States and I will always stand by that oath.”

Lane has two contenders thus far for the June 30 election. Jim Linduff and Eric M. Cope are also vying for the sheriff’s job.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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