Osage County Undersheriff Lou Ann Brown speaks to Pawhuska Rotary Club

By: Roseanne McKee

Osage County Undersheriff Lou Ann Brown, spoke to the Rotary Club in Pawhuska on Feb. 9, about the Osage County Sheriff’s Department.

Brown, who has lived in Osage County all of her life, hails from Skiatook.

In 1989, Brown started in the position of Records Clerk and Secretary to the Chief of Police for the City of Skiatook. Thereafter, Brown served as Communications Supervisor, Field Deputy and then an Investigator at the Osage County Sheriff’s office, before being appointed Undersheriff on May 13, 2005, by Sheriff Ty Koch. More about Brown’s work history can be found at their website: http://www.ocso.net/sheriffs-office/undersheriff/.

“Right now we have 86 full-time employees, which covers our deputies, our investigators, our jailers, our 911 call center. We currently receive all of the 911 calls in the county with the exception of Skiatook city limits and a little area outside of Bartlesville and Ponca City, but everything else goes through our office,” Brown told the Pawhuska Rotary Club audience.

“We do have a new division of the sheriff’s office. We received a grant through the District Attorney’s Council for a victim’s advocate. What she does is she’s a big help for our deputies when they are out working a domestic violence call or sexual assault or something of that nature, she is there to help the victims find resources, perhaps get to a shelter,” Brown explained. The victim’s advocate also helps children. “She gets counseling set up for them and lets the deputy know so that the victim is taken care of.”

The grant for this program renews in March and Brown is optimistic that it will be renewed and the program will continue to grow.

The Sheriff’s Dept. also works with the LEPC, the Local Emergency Planning Commission. One of their joint projects is to locate all of the storm shelters in their jurisdiction, so that they can be placed on their mapping and be available for the dispatchers.

“So if we did have a catastrophic event, we would have that.” This would be helpful in finding people who might be trapped under debris in their storm shelters after the event, Brown explained.

Grass fires have been and will continue to be an issue for the next month or so, she said. West of Pawhuska around Rte. 123, has had an arsonist who has been setting grass fires. “We’ve had eight or nine fires set over there in the last week,” Brown said.

Warrants for the arrest of a suspect have been submitted to the District Attorney’s office. As of March 1 at 10:30 a.m., an arrest had not yet been made, she said.

“One of the things that our sheriff’s office worked on this past summer diligently with some of our staff and people outside of our office was submitting Sheriff George Wayman’s name to be inducted into the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Hall of Fame and he was inducted Dec. 19 at a ceremony at the history museum in Oklahoma City. Our office is really proud of that and I know the people of Osage County are really proud of Sheriff Wayman getting into that Hall of Fame. He was delighted and had a really good time down there.”

One of the audience members asked if crime came from one particular area of the county more than another. Brown responded by saying that it did not.

According to Brown, prescription drugs are a growing problem.

“If you have prescriptions at home, don’t leave them in your bathroom where company can go to your bathroom and steal them. That’s just a little helpful tip.”

Regarding the jail facility, Brown said: “Our jail facility is a tobacco-free. We’re contracting with a company that acts as a commissary for the inmates,” she said. When money is placed on an inmate’s card by family or friends for their use, the company has a machine that processes their commissary purchases. “We don’t handle the money anymore. Inmates can purchase tobacco, but if they don’t ever make trustee status and go off property, they don’t ever have access to it.”

Asked about jail occupancy, Brown said: “Space is not an issue at the jail, like it is at some other facilities. The jail was built 18 years ago. We think of it as new, but it really isn’t. It’s already had a new roof.”

Brown said: “Most of you probably know our Sheriff [Ty Koch] is not going to seek re-election. He’s retiring in December. April is the filing date and we’ll know at that time who’s going to run.”

An audience member asked, “if you were going to point your finger at a woman to be the first sheriff in Osage County, would your name would be in the hat?”

Brown said: “There’s a good possibility. There’s a lot to think about. I’m getting old,” to which the audience laughed and then several audience members encouraged her to run.

Brown, concluded by promising to let the Rotary Club know when she decides whether or not to run for Osage County Sheriff.

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