Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves

Deputy U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves (deceased) was born as a slave in the Arkansas Territory in 1838. He grew up in Texas where he took the surname of his master, George Reeves.  As a young manhe escaped into Indian Territory where he became friends with the Cherokee, Creek and Seminole Indians.  After serving as a guide for U.S. Marshals for several years, Reeves was commissioned in 1875 as a Deputy Marshal, riding out of Fort Smith Federal Judge Isaac Parker’s Court.  Reeves was assigned to Indian territory given his knowledge of the area and that he could speak several Indian languages. Reeves worked 32 years as a federal peace officer before retiring from federal service in 1907.  During his tenure as a Marshal Reeves is credited with more than 3,000 felony arrests. He admitted having to shoot and kill fourteen outlaws in defending his life.  While making these arrests he became one of the “most feared” U.S. Marshals in Indian Territory.  At the time of Oklahoma statehood in 1907, Reeves, at the age of 68, became a member of the Muskogee Police Department.  Reeves and his wife Nellie Jennie raised a family of 10 children, five boys and five girls.  In 1992 Reeves was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners at the national Cowboy & Western Heritage Center.  In 2007, the U.S. Route 62 Bridge crossing the Arkansas River, connecting Muskogee with Fort Gibson, OK, was named the Bass Reeves Memorial Bridge in his honor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

K.O. Rayburn (deceased) made his reputation as a member of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and was a leader in the development of professional training and certification of all members of the Oklahoma law enforcement profession. As a leader and a visionary in the educational / training efforts Oklahoma law enforcement officials today must have the approved qualifications to serve the citizens of Oklahoma from small towns to the state level in enforcing our laws. Through the efforts of K.O. Rayburn the Oklahoma Center for Law Enforcement Education and Training (Oklahoma CLEET) was established.

 

Oklahoma County Sheriff Bob Turner (deceased) was first elected Oklahoma County Sheriff in 1950. During his tenure as Sheriff he mandated a new level of professionalism for his staff and renovated the county jail. He started programs for prisoners who suffer from mental illness and improved the medical care of all others. At his retirement then District Attorney Andy Coats said “All of us will remember him, not as much as Bob Turner, the Sheriff, but Bob Turner the man. His passing from the day-to-day scene in our courthouse will leave a shadow on the skyline.” Sheriff Turner replied, “I’ve always looked on this badge of mine as a badge of honor. I’ve loved it and tried to protect it with all my heart.” This was Sheriff Bob Turner.

 

Tulsa Police Chief, Clinton Riggs (deceased) was selected for his efforts to advance professionalism with the Tulsa force. Examples of his actions became role models for many other departments. Under his leadership the Tulsa Police Academy was established and higher educational degrees were mandated for entering officer and for advancement. Further, he raised 45 scholarships for police officers to attend and graduate from law school. He encouraged and supported the separation of the police and fire fighters from the political structure to a civil service system. He designed the “Yield” sign now used in all 50 states. Author, educator, professional lawman and inventor his vision and dedication will always serve the citizens of Tulsa and Oklahoma.

 

Captain Sam Sixkiller (deceased) a full   blood Cherokee who became a legend as a member of the U.S. Indian Police of the Five Civilized Tribes. Later he became a Deputy U.S. Marshal serving as part of the force under Judge “Hang Them High” Parker of Fort Smith. His service to the Missouri Pacific Railroad helped to free the railroad towns of the Oklahoma Territory of the dangerous and reckless elements.

 

 

 

 

Chief Robert “Bob” Wilder was selected for the Hall of Fame because of his total life commitment to the professionalism of law enforcement. His service to Oklahoma City, the state of Oklahoma and to the nation, Chief Wilder has shown his vision and leadership skills at every level. Currently serving as the Sheriff of Marshall County he continues to lead. According to Governor Brad Henry, “Robert Wilder exemplifies the ideals and values of Oklahoma through his distinguished service to the citizens of Oklahoma and his exemplary level of integrity, commitment, and dedication to his chosen profession serving at every level of government.”

 

Chief James “Jim” Cox, retired Chief of Police of Midwest City has been and still is a respected member of the law enforcement community not only in Oklahoma but throughout the Nation. His vision and wisdom has been sought from the U.S. Department of Justice, state legislatures including Oklahoma’s and many urban administrators. His work with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Oklahoma Indian Affairs Commission in fostering a modern law enforcement system for Tribal governments has been exemplified. As the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police he provided leadership in professional ethics, training and technical support for departments across our State. From the street to the courts his actions have given him a reputation as a doer.

 

Chaplain Jack Poe of the Oklahoma City Police Department for more than 23 years has served as the voice of comfort and reason to the men and women of law enforcement when needed. Chaplain Poe has been with the Department since 1984 and is the supervising chaplain for his agency and also provides an outreach to other communities in our state when officers are in crisis. His presence during the Murrah bombing allowed first responders and volunteers to stay focused and comforted during this trying tragedy. During 9/11 Chaplain Poe was present in New York City during the search and recover efforts as a beacon of comfort and understanding. In a world of violence Chaplain Poe is a strong voice for virtue and balance. Because of his values and personal honor he has served as a role model for all who know him.

 

Special Induction:  This year the Board will conduct a very special induction with the recognition of a very important group of ladies. In August 1955, Oklahoma City commissioned six women police officers and thus established a first in Oklahoma history. Bernece Jean Latham and Iona Fae Chapman Braswell will represent the other four deceased officers. They are Ina Mae “Tiny” Miller, Edna Jean Linn Armstrong, Lois Faye Moore and Mildred Louise Jones. Their individual standards and professionalism proved that women could serve and contribute to the profession of law enforcement. Today there are women serving at all levels of police services because of these pioneers.

 

About the author: Oklahoma Law Enforcement Museum