OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Another twist in the tribal tag troubles is taking over headlines lately. A presentation to lawmakers and troopers this past summer, seems to contradict what tribal leaders have been telling News 4 as it relates to sharing of registration information.
Governor Kevin Stitt said the crackdown on tribal tags is a public safety issue. On Wednesday, News 4 received a video from July, which appears to be a presentation made to lawmakers and state troopers.
In the video, Commissioner of Public Safety Tim Tipton said, “If you’re not one of those three compacted tribes, it’s really unregulated and really it’s only regulated in two, that that information even gets into our system. So if I run most tribal tags, non-compacted tags, I won’t get a return. I don’t know if that car’s been in a chase and ran. I don’t know if that car’s stolen.”
Tipton is explaining that without a compact in place, there’s no way for the state of Oklahoma or state troopers to have up to date registration information on cars.
There also wouldn’t be up to date information in Oklahoma Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (OLETS), which is how law enforcement agencies across the state share information with each other.
In an email sent to News 4 today, the Department of Public Safety sent a list of tribes that have access to OELTS.
It includes 24 of the 38 federally recognized tribes in Oklahoma. Many of the tribes that don’t, have fewer than 5 thousand members.
News 4 reached out to nearly 20 of those tribes and many of them told us they submit information to OLETS voluntarily.
If a tribe has access to OLETS, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are sharing information, but when News 4 asked the Department of Public Safety which tribes have used the system, we were told they won’t share that information.
News 4 is still working to figure out where this disconnect between the tribes and the state is.