Oklahoma News

Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh speaks to members on the House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee on October 19, 2016
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Oklahoma’s Department of Corrections says one of its biggest challenges is recruiting and retaining employees.

During an interim study Wednesday, Prison Director Joe Allbaugh told lawmakers turnover for the agency is roughly 28 percent. Correctional officers in particular, Allbaugh said, are even harder to retain. Turnover for those positions is approaching 40 percent.

He blamed the high-stress nature of the job combined with low-pay and long hours and said many cadets have a false idea of what being a prison officer entails.  

Road construction continues on NW 164th Street between May and Portland avenues in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record

Oklahoma City is preparing for midyear budget cuts because of low sales tax revenue.

Mayor Mick Cornett and city councilmembers had been hoping for growth in the sales tax, but revenue to the city is down 4 percent.

Weak consumer spending means the city will have to cut back on its own spending by about $10 million halfway through the fiscal year.

Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel gestures as he answers a question at a news conference in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, July 30, 2008.

The state auditor’s office released findings Tuesday from an investigation into the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office. The findings say the sheriff’s office unlawfully spent department funds under John Whetsel’s leadership.

According to the review, the department failed to pay healthcare contracts even though money was available at the time. Auditors also determined Whetsel purchased nearly $1 million worth of vehicles while other obligations weren’t met.

Carla Quillen, a proponent of SQ 780/781 stands outside her office on Aug. 30, 2016
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Oklahoma’s prisons are crowded, and the state continues to incarcerate offenders at the second- highest rate in the nation, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Two state questions on the November 8 ballot aim to ease both of those strains.  

People hold signs at a "protest for justice" over the Sept. 16, 2016 shooting death of Terence Crutcher, sponsored by We the People Oklahoma. The rally took place in Tulsa on Sept. 20, 2016.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

The Tulsa Police Department paid more than $216,000 in overtime in the immediate aftermath of the September 16 fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white officer.

The expenses covered increased staffing of patrols for demonstrations, marches, the funeral and news conferences after Officer Betty Shelby shot and killed Terence Crutcher.


The Norman Police Department is interested in buying a 20-foot-long, 17,000-pound armored vehicle.

It's called the Bearcat, which stands for "ballistic engineered armored response counter attack truck," but city says it expects to use it primarily during natural disasters.

Attendees listen as former Missouri state senator Wes Shoemyer speaks against Amendment 1 at the Missouri’s Food for America sign-making event at Café Berlin Friday, June 27, 2014 in Columbia, Missouri.
KOMUNews / Flickr

Oklahoma could become the third state to add a “right-to-farm” amendment to its constitution if voters approve State Question 777 this November. Voters in North Dakota and Missouri already adopted such a measure, but, the effects remain unclear there, even years after passage. 

An inspector looks at the debris that remained after a home at 12505 Whispering Hollow Drive exploded, due to a natural gas leak.
Provided / Oklahoma Corporation Commission

Oklahoma Natural Gas reached a proposed settlement Wednesday in an enforcement case over a house explosion earlier this year.

The company will pay just over $1 million if state regulators accept the agreement.

Tulsa Police Department

The State Medical Examiner released a toxicology report Tuesday for an unarmed man fatally shot in Tulsa last month. The results show Terence Crutcher had “acute phencyclidine intoxication” when Tulsa Police Officer Betty Shelby shot and killed him on September 16.


Supreme Court
Mark Fischer / Flickr

The United States Supreme Court overturned the death penalty judgment Tuesday of an Oklahoma man convicted of a 2010 triple murder. Justices ruled the victim impact statement where family of the deceased said the death sentence was appropriate should not have been admitted.


Shaun Bosse was convicted in 2012 of three first-degree murder charges in the killings of his girlfriend and her two children.


LM Otero / AP

The Oklahoma Senate Judiciary Committee met Monday to study eyewitness misidentification in criminal cases.

Sue Ogrocki / AP

Oklahoma's execution practices were under the national spotlight when the 2015 legislative session began. A few weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case challenging the state’s three-drug lethal injection cocktail, Oklahoma state Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, introduced Senate Joint Resolution 31.  

Tulsa Race Riots Of 1921 Echo Tensions Today

Oct 4, 2016

In 1921, the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma, erupted in race riots that left up to 300 people dead. Homes and businesses were burned.

The riot has been mostly ignored by history. But a recent fatal police shooting of an African-American man in Tulsa has re-focused attention on the city’s past.

Bruce Fisher, retired curator of the African-American projects at the Oklahoma Historical Society, and Kate Carlton Greer, a reporter for KGOU, join Here & Now‘s Robin Young to discuss Tulsa’s past and present.

House Majority Leader Carl Albert (D-Okla.) sits in the Oval Office with President Lyndon Johnson.
Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library

Editor's Note: This program originally aired June 29, 2015.

Southeast Oklahoma is an unusual place, politically. Many southerners settled in the area after the Civil War, leading to its nickname “Little Dixie.”

Through the 20th century, it became the center of political power in Oklahoma, and the Democratic Party dominated politics well into the late 1990s. Decades after the formerly “Solid South” had switched to the Republican Party, Democrats enjoyed an 8:1 voter registration advantage in southeast Oklahoma.

Protesters marched from the Greenwood Cultural Center to Tulsa City Hall in a demonstration over Terence Crutcher's death.
Matt Trotter / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Protesters demanding justice for an unarmed black man shot by Tulsa police earlier this month marched to Tulsa's city hall Tuesday.

The demonstrators gathered at the site of the 1921 Tulsa Race Riot, marking a day of justice called for last week by Crutcher's family, their attorneys and the Rev. Al Sharpton, who was on hand to lead the march. The national civil rights leader praised Tulsa police for releasing video of the shooting but said there are more steps to take.