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OKLAHOMA CITY — Monday, the Oklahoma County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) considered signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Oklahoma City Police Department, possibly a controversial matter.

The Board also voted to transfer more than $8 million of federal rental assistance money to the Oklahoma Home Finance Authority for administration of a continued program for aid for renters and homeowners in the county who have been affected by COVID.

Policing agreement

Sheriff Tommie Johnson, III proposed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Oklahoma City Police Department that may be met with approval by some and disapproval by others.

The interlocal agreement between the County and the City of Oklahoma City will allow the Sheriff to “commission” members of the OKCPD’s Violent Crime Apprehension Team (VCAT). By being commissioned by the Sheriff, those police officers may move outside their normal jurisdiction in pursuit of apprehending persons suspected of committing violent crime inside city limits.

The last two Sheriffs have not had this interlocal agreement formalized, but have commissioned police officers as needed.

The agreement approved Monday by the BoCC would effectively make the VCAT a task force with members of the City Police and Sheriff’s Office. Oklahoma City will be the lead agency, according to the agreement, and a Captain from OKCPD will be the administrator of the team.

Rental assistance

The Board approved a transfer of $8.1 million to the Oklahoma County Home Finance Authority (OCHFA).

OCHFA will administer those federally provided funds to be used as rental, mortgage, and utility assistance for persons in Oklahoma County who have experienced loss of income due to the COVID pandemic. This will renew the successful assistance program from 2020 under the umbrella of Community CARES Partners.

The previous program assisted 640 families with $1.5 million in assistance.

The new funds come with a stipulation that only 10% may be used for administrative costs with the rest set aside for direct payments to landlords, mortgage companies, and utility providers.

District 3 County Commissioner Kevin Calvey explained that he would formally abstain from the vote.

Calvey explained that he fully supports this program, unlike the previous program. When the program was using unearmarked CARES funds, Calvey believed that the money should be used for more important projects. However, this money was provided by the federal government for this specific use.

While Calvey supports the program, he explained that he would abstain in order to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, as Calvey’s legal practice represents some landlords whose renters may receive this benefit.

County Line Road

The Board approved a Specific Assistance Agreement with the Board of County Commissioners of Canadian County for a joint project in District 3 for reconstruction of County Line Road between NW 206th and NW 248th.

Each county will provide crews and equipment for the project, contributing $503,250 each for construction. At the end of the project the costs will be itemized so that each county pays an equal share.

Post Road

The Board held a public hearing on a request to place a portion of Unopened Section Line of Post Road south of 122nd Street on “reserve status.” There will be a sand mining operation there and the road will be used by the mining company and local traffic only for a short time, after which the road will return to normal use.

No citizens signed up to speak during the public hearing, and the item passed unanimously.

The Board of County Commissioners will meet again on Monday, March 15 at 9:00 a.m.

Last Updated March 1, 2021, 2:18 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor