Tehee named Muskogee police chief

BY STAFF REPORTS
07/17/2018 04:15 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Johnny Tehee
MUSKOGEE – As of July 14, Cherokee Nation citizen Johnny Tehee, of Vian, was expected to take over as the new chief for the Muskogee Police Department.

Tehee has been with the MPD for more than 30 years. For the past 15 years he’s been the deputy chief to Chief Rex Eskridge, who was to retire on July 13. For about 10 years on the force, he’s specialized in investigating child abuse. Before the promotion, Tehee served as the deputy chief of the Investigation Division.

Tehee said he believes the most important thing to concentrate on is community relations. He wants the community more involved on what the police are doing, and the police more involved on what the community is doing.

“Back about 20 years I ran the Muskogee Police Athletic League, which means all the police officers would coach young kids’ football, baseball and basketball,” Tehee said. “We quit doing that about five or six ago, and I definitely want to get that back in place. I just think it’s a big asset for the community if you have officers involved in young kids’ lives.”

In the 1990s, Tehee said Muskogee had a problem with drugs and gangs with the murder rate high going into the 2000s. Since that time, he said the MPD has put more officers on the street and crime rates have gone down.

“We went from having double digits homicides to one or two a year. For the most part it’s a matter of keeping things going in the right direction,” Tehee said.

He added that he’s “excited and looking forward to the challenges” of being the police chief.

“I want to continue to move the Muskogee Police Department forward and carry on the legacy that was created by Chief Eskridge to remain one of the top law enforcement agencies in Oklahoma,” he said.

Tehee graduated Vian High School in 1982 before studying criminal justice at Northeastern State University. He also graduated from the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He said he’s been a member of First Baptist Church of Muskogee for more than 30 years and has spent years travelling the world on mission trips. He also said he’s been a long-time teacher in the church’s youth department.

“Deputy Chief Tehee has the experience, the community relationships and leadership skills needed to be an outstanding chief of police,” Muskogee City Manager Mike Collier said. “He has big shoes to fill, but I know he’s more than capable and will do great things in our community.”

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