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Oklahoma governor vetoes traffic stop bill

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has vetoed a bill that would have banned private companies from participating in traffic stops, calling the bill overly broad.
by Nolan Clay Published: May 1, 2014
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Gov. Mary Fallin has vetoed a bill that would have banned private companies from participating in traffic stops.

Fallin called the bill well intentioned but overly broad in its scope.

“As written, this bill would restrict interagency cooperation and hinder law enforcement efforts across Oklahoma by not allowing law enforcement agencies to work with any entity outside of their department,” Fallin stated in a veto message Wednesday.

The bill was sparked by criticism surrounding a private company’s involvement in drug stops last year along Interstate 40.

More than $1 million was seized in the traffic stops before the Caddo County district attorney halted all such stops because of the criticism.

The bill stated: “Under no circumstances may a law enforcement agency or law enforcement task force authorize or allow a private non-law-enforcement or nondepartmental entity or person to conduct or actively participate in a roadside traffic stop or arrest for a violation of a state traffic law or municipal traffic ordinance.”

The state House of Representatives approved the bill 90-0. The Senate approved the bill 43-0.

The bill’s author, State Rep. Mike Shelton, said Thursday he hopes the Legislature will be open to overriding the veto.

“It’s a public safety issue,” Shelton, D-Oklahoma City, said Thursday. “This is vigilante justice. They’re not qualified to do it. They’re just out there pulling people out of cars and things like that. ... When you have those things, you’re putting people at risk.”

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by Nolan Clay
Sr. Reporter
Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,...
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