FOYIL – The establishment of a police department in Foyil could bring in more business revenue into this rural Rogers County community.
“Our goal is to get the Foyil Police Department operational by Feb. 1,” said Cindy McMahan, town clerk.
The rural community of 344 residents is seeing a surge in drugs – methamphetamine and thefts, she said.
“The Dollar General store just about closed their doors and left [the community] because of thefts and a convenience store has been broken into five times in the last six weeks,” McMahan said.
There are four businesses in the community – a diner, a convenience store, a heating and air business and Dollar General.
“This will not be a speed trap [community],” McMahan said.
The community is backing the grassroots effort for the police department, she said.
The lack of a police department has prompted some businesses that wanted to come to Foyil change their mind.
Route 66 is a big selling point for the community and the addition of a police department should build up the community’s tourism efforts. Route 66 motorists pass through and travel the one-and-half miles of the original Route 66 highway, she said.
“We are sitting on a pot of gold,” McMahan said referring to the Route 66 treasure in their community. “We have people all over the world that come here.
“I have been city clerk for three years, and two of the three years a man from Japan – who is working on a book about Route 66 - comes to Foyil,” McMahan said.
The police department will be in the old city hall building and it’s being remodeled with a completion date set for Dec. 1, she said.
“We are talking applications and resumes for police chief until Dec. 15,” McMahan said.
The department will have 24 hour – seven days a week law enforcement, she said. The police chief will be the only full-time officer, but the department will have several reserve officers, McMahan.
The cost of the police department is coming out of city funds, she said.
Several residents have pledged funds to help set up the police department, she said. Cherokee Nation and the Oklahoma Municipal Management Services have been in contact about aid with a vehicle, uniforms, radios and other equipment, McMahan said.
“We will provide the ammunition,” McMahan said.
At one time the Rogers County Sheriff’s Department had a satellite office in the old city hall and supplied a law enforcement presence in the community, she said.