OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A presentation made by the Department of Public Safety Commissioner Tim Tipton has made the rounds again and KFOR looked through it to fact-check a couple of points he made this summer.
The presentation was titled ‘Public Safety in Post-McGirt Oklahoma’ and in attendance were lawmakers and troopers alike.
KFOR reached out to the Commissioner’s Office for an interview and to answer some questions and they denied the request.
Tipton oversees DPS issues as well as the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, as it is within the DPS jurisdiction.
Some of the statements made by Commissioner Tipton were directly false, according to data, and others were more exaggerated.
The presentation at times showed the negative effects of tribal tags on the efforts of troopers/law enforcement.
Tipton started it off by showing legislators the effort put forth by OHP and how hard they work with little.
“Every year we are going to look at how many alcohol and drug-related arrests we have made to keep citizens safe,” said Tipton. “You all know because you’ve probably heard in committee meetings and different topics over the years about the epidemic level of intoxicated drivers we have in Oklahoma.”
According to the latest numbers from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, that isn’t true. Their numbers showed that 2022 saw Oklahoma’s lowest arrest of people driving while intoxicated in what seems like three decades.
According to the FBI: there were 8,574 DUI arrests in 2022, there were 13,370 DUI arrests in 2013, and there were 22,165 DUI arrests in 2002.
“We need to focus on Commercial Motor Vehicle crashes,” said Tipton. “More Oklahomans are being killed and seriously injured due to commercial motor vehicles than any other vehicle.”
That is partially true, but exaggerated because according to the latest data from the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, CMV crashes accounted for around 11% of all crashes in 2021 and 13% of all crashes in 2017.
Tipton dove into tribal tags at one point and said that due to citations going through the tribal court system instead of the Oklahoma court system, his agency and others are missing out on funds.
“If you don’t get it through the citation then you’re going to have to find it somewhere else to fund those critical areas,” said Tipton.
This statement was true, however, many tribes have agreed to pay back funds from citations to the agencies they came from. For example, in 2020, the Cherokee Tribe signed an agreement to pay back to 13 municipalities. The agreement according to the tribe was to pay back the total citation but $30.
Tipton also spoke on how tribal tags can hinder a trooper or officers ability to look at the criminal history of the driver in the vehicle at the time. But no matter what tag is on a vehicle, running the tag through the system would not tell a trooper about the person behind the wheel.
Many of the statements made during the July presentation were true but some were exaggerated, according to federal and state data.
KFOR reached out to DPS to clear up some of the statements and get answers to conflicting data but did not hear back as of Thursday.