Police Chief Clay Mahaney recently announced his bid for re-election to a second term.
During his tenure, Mahaney, a 26-year law enforcement veteran, has implemented many changes in the department.
He began by dedicating an officer to the drug task force. According to Mahaney, joining forces with the District 27 DTF has since served as an asset to the city and the rest of the community.
“We have reaped the benefits of several arrests and convictions including the seizure of 1,000 pounds of marijuana that was seized while coming through our city,” Mahaney said. “Our unification with other local, state and federal agencies targeted a long-time drug problem, and netted several arrests, along with seizures that included real estate within the city.”
The department’s affiliation with the District 27 Drug Task Force has meant more than 200 arrests during the last four years, along with the seizure of 150 methamphetamine labs, with about one-third of those within the Tahlequah city limits. The department also has members who participate in the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Eastern District of Oklahoma Violent Crime Task Force.
“We have partnered with these groups for two main reasons: I believe cooperation and working together reaps benefits for law enforcement, and we want to provide the best protection possible for the citizens of Tahlequah,” Mahaney said. “Our people deserve the best law enforcement and I believe we give them that.”
Mahaney said the working relationship with all of our law enforcement agencies is at the highest it has ever been.
“That is one subject that I promised I would do and I have done it, the community is a much safer place when all departments work together for the people.”
Education and continued training has also been TPD’s agenda during Mahaney’s time at the helm. Officers were trained in specialized fields, a K-9 handler and another K-9, “Bo,” was acquired to replace the recently retired K-9, “Duke.”
“We also have an officer who has received training as a drug recognition expert, giving us two officers trained in that field; also an officer trained in the DARE program to teach our students how to resist drugs, violence and bullying in our schools,” said Mahaney.
“We were also involved with a multi-jurisdictional training with several local and state law enforcement agencies along with our local schools at the vo-tech to illustrate how officers respond to the threat of an active shooter in schools.”
School zones are monitored closely by police to keep children safe on their way to and from school.
“New vehicles and equipment have been purchased, while continuing to stay within the budget,” said Mahaney. “Our fleet is one of the main things we have to keep up to provide the best possible protection for our city. Arrests were also made on our major violent crimes, including a recent double homicide, and a home invasion where homeowners were assaulted and property was taken.”
During Mahaney’s tenure, the department has continued to be a partner with Help-In-Crisis, the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s office on an Encourage to Arrest grant that targets domestic violence and sexual assault cases. The department took 21 sexual assault reports from January to June that resulted in 19 arrests and 67 domestic assault reports that netted 62 apprehensions. Two arrests have also been made in cases where adult men were targeting underage girls on the Internet.
Mahaney has maintained an open-door policy throughout his term, and invites his employees, as well as the citizens, to come by and visit with him about their concerns.
Mahaney, a 1982 Tahlequah High School graduate, has worked for the Stilwell and Tahlequah police departments. He has been a DARE officer, and is a former Buckledown Award winner for his efforts in traffic safety.
The chief attended Northeastern State University and is a Cherokee tribal citizen, as well as a member of the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Cherokee County Cattlemans Association and Cherokee Masonic Lodge No. 10. He has received training from the Oklahoma Municipal League for newly elected officials, and has more than 1,000 hours of CLEET training.
Mahaney is the son of Katie and the late Clyde Mahaney. He and wife Autumn are longtime Tahlequah residents. The couple has two children and two grandchildren. Mahaney is of the Baptist faith.
“I have accomplished some of my goals for the city and department, but still have some to meet,” Mahaney said. “I hope you will consider my record for the last four years and choose to re-elect me as your chief of police so I can continue to help TPD grow and prosper and meet more of my goals for this agency.”