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Monday, Speaker of the House Charles McCall told local law enforcement members during a law enforcement appreciation luncheon that the Oklahoma Legislature has no intentions of defunding the police.
“Here’s what we’re going to do,” McCall said. “We are going to fund law enforcement because we support you and we support freedom. I’m concerned with the national rhetoric, and so are many of the House of Representatives. I’m hearing members want to run a lot of pro-law enforcement legislation next year. We want to do something positive in that area.”
Dozens of people, including several uniformed officers, turned out to the Cleveland County fairgrounds Monday afternoon to support their local police for Cleveland County Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. The celebration, which honored all law enforcement agencies in Cleveland County, offered free food for attendees and featured McCall as the keynote speaker.
McCall, R–District 22, started his speech by thanking all members of the law enforcement profession. He said he supports police and sheriff departments across the state. “Without law enforcement and first responders,” McCall said, there would be no order. Law enforcement officials are the true leaders in Oklahoma, he said.
The House Speaker made it clear he opposes calls to defund the police that have arisen since May in the wake of the Black Lives Matter protests that followed the death of George Floyd after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck. McCall said there are better ways to achieve justice without tearing down law enforcement as an institution, and decried the lack of decorum surrounding many of the calls to defund police departments.
McCall said the idea of defunding the police is dangerous and unnecessary because without law enforcement, society will crumble.
“You know who defunds law enforcement?” McCall said. “I’ll tell you. Third World countries that live in states of chaos. That’s not what Oklahoma wants.”
Members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives have recently submitted requests for interim studies, including many on police reform, McCall said. He said he expects proactive legislation will be introduced on the topic in the future and all aspects of the issues will be considered.