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PM NewsBrief: May 15, 2023

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Monday, May 15, 2023.

911 System Update Bill

A bill that would update Oklahoma’s 911 system for the first time since 1975 is headed to Gov. Kevin Stitt’s office.

Republican State Rep. Jim Grego’s House Bill 1590 passed its fourth reading late last week.

The bill requires the state’s 911 system to undergo infrastructural upgrades to improve dispatch centers’ accuracy and to reduce delays.

The bill also requires emergency telecommunicators to receive CPR training.

The bill is called the Haiden Fleming Memorial Act, named for an Oklahoma man who died from a cardiac incident in Peggs in 2021. 911 was called but dispatch struggled to locate where he lived. He died before the ambulance arrived.

I-35 Improvement Project in Edmond Moving Forward

A nearly $45 million dollar project will improve traffic flow and safety on Interstate 35 in Edmond.

The project includes making access roads one-way, and adding lanes and so-called Texas turnarounds at exits.

The turnarounds allow drivers to bypass some traffic lights while exiting, easing flow.

Merging lanes will also be widened and lengthened.

The improvements will be made between the Memorial Road and Second Street exits.

The work is partially funded by the City of Edmond, with most of the project paid for by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.

Construction will begin in 2024 and is expected to take about 18 months to complete.

New Law Targets Illegal Marijuana Grow Operations

Oklahoma lawmakers are cracking down on illicit marijuana grows.

State law enforcement officials estimate as many as half of Oklahoma's licensed marijuana grow operations could be participating in illegal activity.

Gov. Kevin Stitt signed House Bill 2281 into law last week.

The measure makes the use of a straw purchaser - an Oklahoman who sets up a cannabis business for an out-of-state third party - a felony.

Attorney General Gentner Drummond praised the new law.

The state’s top law enforcement officer also touted the recently passed HB 2095, which gives his office the authority to subpoena business documents and conduct unannounced on-site inspections.

The measure is also designed to increase collaboration between state agencies like the OMMA or the OSBI in cracking down on illicit operations.

Chickasaw Police Officer Receives Special Recognition

A Chickasaw Lighthorseman is the 2023 officer of the year in Indian Country.

Jared Buckaloo was named the Indian Country Law Enforcement officer of the year because of his handling of a harrowing situation near the WinStar Casino in 2022.

Buckaloo struggled with an armed suspect -- taking his weapon while protecting people around him and ultimately ensuring no one was killed in the incident.

That's why he received an award from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, an organization that's been around since 1893.

Buckaloo has been a lighthorse police officer since 2020 and works at the Winstar Precinct with his K-9 Gaucho.

He likes mentoring other officers and aspires to become a criminal investigator.

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