By: Lani Hansen, Senior Reporter
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma– On Dec. 28, 2020 Richard Phillips was selected to be the acting Chief of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Lighthorse Police Department.
Phillips has been with MCN Lighthorse for 21 years as a reserve police officer. After MCN National Council did not pass Daniel Wind III to serve as Chief of Lighthorse, Phillips had then applied for the acting Chief position.
“I had found out that I got the position on Monday, December 28,” Phillips said.
Phillips career started at Drumright Police Academy in 1999 under Lighthorse. According to Phillips, tribal agencies were not recognized by the State of Oklahoma. He was then commissioned to the Glenpool Police Department under former Chief of Police Larry Bible.
“I was with Lighthorse and Glenpool Police Department for about a year and a half,” Phillips said. “I have been with Lighthorse off and on with different administrations for my entire career. Some administrations didn’t use reserves and some did.”
He was with Morris Police Department beginning in 2005, working his way up becoming Chief of Police at Morris towards the end of 2014 and resigning in 2016. In 2016 he left for MCN District Court to serve as a bailiff/police officer for the courts.
“I worked alongside Judge Bigler protecting our court system as well as our court clerks,” Phillips added. “With the McGirt case passing there was an opportunity to apply for one of the captain positions for Lighthorse.”
With his Chief of Police experience and being with Lighthorse for so many years, Phillips sought an opportunity for the acting Chief of Lighthorse.
“Thank the good Lord they put me as acting right now,” Phillips said.
One of his main goals as acting Chief for the department is to make it a top-shelf department. With the McGirt ruling, MCN Lighthorse is under a microscope for the State of Oklahoma and the Nation. He wants to set a precedent for other tribes who may want to follow suit.
“I want us to be that top-shelf agency, where agents will come along behind us and see what we are doing so they can call us for questions,” Phillips said.
Phillips wants to be a good leader for the department. He believes he can do some good things for them.
“We have an outstanding group of officers and I’m blessed to work alongside of them,” Phillips said.