- Ada, Oklahoma

March 12, 2014

Around the State

Oklahoma City — Bill would open Oklahoma trooper dash cam videos

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Videos shot from the dashboards of Oklahoma Highway Patrol cruisers would be subject to the state’s Open Records Act under a bill that overwhelmingly passed the state Senate.

The Senate voted 40-3 on Tuesday for the bill by Oklahoma City Republican Sen. David Holt.

The bill eliminates a current exemption to the state’s Open Records Act that allows the Oklahoma Highway Patrol to keep the videos secret. Holt says the OHP supports the bill and that the exemption has “caused them to come under more suspicion.”

Holt says the bill includes exceptions that would allow the OHP to keep from public view videos that showed nudity, minors, fatalities, or officer conduct that is subject of a current investigation.


Senate approves pay raise for Oklahoma troopers

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma Highway Patrol troopers would get a pay increase of as much as 20 percent under a bill that has passed unanimously in the state Senate.

The bill the Senate approved Tuesday would provide for an across-the-board pay raise for troopers based on the recommendations of a recent study on state employee compensation. 

That study shows troopers should receive a boost in pay of between 14 percent and 20 percent.

The measure now heads to House.

The Senate author of the bill — Edmond Republican Sen. Clark Jolley — says the bill would cost about $8.5 million annually when fully implemented.

A starting trooper is currently paid an annual salary of about $38,000. 

The trooper salary scales haven’t been increased in seven years.


Man sought in theft from Okla. jail phones caught

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A telephone service employee suspected of stealing more than $40,000 from phone terminals in the Oklahoma County jail has been arrested following a short standoff with deputies in Oklahoma City.

The sheriff’s office says in a news release that 65-year-old Thomas Caldwell was found about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in a parking lot at Penn Square Mall and when deputies approached him, he pulled out a handgun and pointed it at his head. 

Deputies talked Caldwell into dropping the gun after about five minutes, then arrested him.

Online court records do not list an attorney for him.

Authorities say Caldwell worked for Telmate, a company that provides phone service for county jail inmates. Caldwell was last seen March 3, when video cameras recorded him leaving the jail’s rear entrance.


Arkansas man killed in collision with train

MEDFORD (AP) — The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says a 24-year-old Arkansas man was killed when his truck was hit by an oncoming freight train.

The highway patrol says Cort Houston Daugherty of Huntsville died in the collision Monday in the northern Oklahoma town of Medford. According to the highway patrol, Daugherty was driving west on Oklahoma Highway 11 when he failed to yield to a Union Pacific train.

A spokeswoman for Union Pacific tells the Enid News & Eagle  that the train had two locomotives and 71 empty rail cars. The company says the crossing had flashing lights and warning signs.

The highway patrol says Daugherty was pinned in the wreckage for about five hours Monday morning. He was pronounced dead at the scene.


OU Law establishes first Native American Law chair

NORMAN (AP) — The University of Oklahoma College of Law has received a gift from the Chickasaw Nation for the Chickasaw Nation Native American Law Chair.

The position is the first endowed chair of its kind in the nation. 

It will allow OU to attract and retain national scholars in Native American law.

OU Law offers three different programs providing specialization in Native American law: the Juris Doctor Certificate, the Master of Laws and the new Master of Legal Studies.