Bixby school faces jurisdiction issues

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
Updated: 8/20/2013 5:23 pm Published: 8/20/2013 4:58 pm

Some parents in the Bixby school district are concerned about the location of the new Northeast Elementary building.

The problem: the school sits outside the jurisdiction of both Bixby and Broken Arrow police departments.

Although it is a Bixby school, it sits on the fence line of Broken Arrow, which means neither could act legally without the permission of the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.

Joeleen Ferrer has two children who will start school bright and early Tuesday morning. She's excited that her kids will be a part of this brand new building but slightly concerned if something should happen.

"I do feel like you never want to overestimate something is safer than it is," she says.

Her concern is that the Sheriff's Office is far away and already has a lot on its plate.

So, we wanted to find out what the plan is if an intruder came inside the building or another emergency situation arose. Major Shannon Clark with the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office says there are several options that are being looked at right now.

"We can dual commission the police officers to have county jurisdiction while they perform law enforcement functions at that school," says Clark.

Another option is to enter into an inter-agency local agreement with the City of Bixby that would give its officers the ability to use law enforcement power in the school building.

"Or if a call is initiated we through radio or a phone call can grant them jurisdiction to respond to whatever particular crime is being committed," he says.

Joeleen says all of these options give her and other parents peace of mind.

"I'm very glad that it's being brought to everyone's awareness, but we just all need to work together and get something done," says Joeleen.

Until a solution is reached, the Sheriff's Office says it will make protecting this school a continued priority.

Fox23 spoke with the Bixby police who say their school resource officers will have a presence at the school building, and if Tulsa County is having a slow response time the Sheriff's Office can authorize them to take over.

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