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State Question 780 having negative impact on county

 Haskell County and other rural counties are dealing with multiple negative issues as a result of a state question being approved, according Haskell County Sheriff Tim Turner. State Question 780, which was approved by

voters in November 2016, reclassified some drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors.

“It’s basically tied our hands, tied the court’s hands, tied the D.A.’s (district attorney’s) office hands,” said Turner. The sheriff ’s office is seeing “folks come to jail on what used to be felonies that are now misdemeanors and

they bond out and they re-offend,” he said.

The bonds for misdemeanor crimes are lower than felony crimes, and individuals often spend very little or no time in the county jail after being arrested. “They bond out before the paperwork’s done,” Turner said.

The Haskell County Sheriff ’s Office and other law enforcement agencies are seeing an increase in thefts and drug-related crimes, and Turner said that trend is a result of State Question 780. The legislation in State Question 780 also prevents law enforcement from forcing offenders to receive treatment, Turner said. He added that law enforcement officers in the county are working together to try to resolve the issues, but are having difficulty. Turner made the statements regarding State Question 780 during a video interview at the Stigler-News Sentinel  office on Monday, June 24.

Turner also provided information about recent personnel changes within the sheriff ’s office and other issues. The complete interview can be viewed on the Stigler News-Sentinel  website at

Staff report by Anita Reding

Stigler News-Sentinel

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Stigler, OK 74462

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