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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — In a lengthy and well attended meeting of the Oklahoma County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC), the Board voted to approve a resolution granting permission to Tinker Air Force Base to close a substantial portion of Douglas Boulevard for a future expansion of the base.

The BoCC also passed a resolution recognizing May as Drug Court Month, and several graduates of Oklahoma County’s Drug Court addressed the meeting.

Finally, the Sheriff’s Office asked for approval of a contract to create a new website separate from the County’s. The Board voted to defer the item in order to consult on the legality of the move.

Douglas Closure

A public hearing was held regarding the upcoming expansion of Tinker AFB.

As the base expands in order to serve more aircraft, the Air Force has communicated a desire to close a significant portion of Douglas Boulevard, and a portion of SE 59th Street.

Douglas will be closed from the south right of way line of SE 44th Street to the north right of way line of SE 74th Street. It will close SE 59th from the east right of way line of Douglas Boulevard to the west right of way line of S Berryman Road.

Monday’s public hearing was ahead of a vote on a resolution to “give permission” to the USAF to close those roads. Only one community member spoke during the hearing, and stated that the expansion of the base will reach his street, South Berryman Road. He expressed concern about light pollution from the base, and complained that he hasn’t received responses to emails with the Oklahoma Industry Authority, the public Trust that is the point of contact for the expansion project. District 2 County Commissioner Brian Maughan asked the resident to supply his contact information so Maughan could assist.

The City of Oklahoma City has already been through this process, and for their part are planning to increase the traffic load capacity for Polk Road, which will take on much of the rerouted traffic.

The Board voted unanimously in favor of the resolution.

Drug Court

District 1 Commissioner Carrie Blumert brought forward a resolution to recognize May as Drug Court Month. District 3 Commissioner Kevin Calvey brought a similar resolution, but deferred to Blumert.

Judge Kenneth Stoner, yes that is his real name, who presides over Drug Court spoke briefly about the benefits of the popular prison diversion program.

See our previous reporting on Stoner and the Drug Court:

Stoner said that Oklahoma County’s Drug Court has an 83% success rate, which is the highest in the state, and exceeds national averages by over 20%.

Drug Court has 400 current participants. At Monday’s meeting four graduates of the program shared their inspiring stories of completing this program and living a life of sobriety.

Language in the resolution, which was adopted unanimously, explains that each individual served by Drug Court saves $6,000 of taxpayer money over imprisonment. Oklahoma Drug Courts have saved the state nearly $83 million, and saved many families from being separated by prison sentences.

Sheriff’s Website

Sheriff Tommie Johnson, III presented two items to the Commissioners related to contracting a service to design a website. Currently, the Sheriff’s Office is represented on the County’s website, like all other County Departments.

Oklahoma County Sheriff Tommie Johnson III during a new conference, April 26, 2022 (BRETT DICKERSON/Okla City Free Press)

Johnson said that this would be a separate website solely representing the Sheriff’s Office. Design and maintenance of the new and possibly redundant website will not be handled by the County’s IT arm, MIS. Instead, the Sheriff wishes to hire a private company for the work.

Commissioner Maughan balked at the idea, not because he was opposed he clarified, but because when this has been brought up in the past, the DA’s office said that a department operating its own website could create legal liability.

The items were deferred until later this week in order to consult with legal counsel on the issue.

Thursday the Commissioners have a scheduled meeting of the Public Buildings Authority at 9:55 a.m. It is likely that a BoCC meeting will be scheduled adjacent to that meeting in order to address the website issue.

The next regularly scheduled meeting of the County Commissioners is on Monday, June 6, at 9:00 a.m.

Last Updated May 16, 2022, 3:47 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor