The FBI office in OKC told News 9 it's all hands-on deck. It needs a lot more personnel to handle the increasing case load from the SCOTUS ruling on McGirt.
The FBI Director submitted a written testimony to Congress this week. In his testimony he requested 76 more FBI personnel in the OKC Field Office to address the needs in Oklahoma.
An increased jurisdiction due to the McGirt ruling has FBI Agents in Oklahoma City working double
“Pre McGirt, we were opening maybe 50 cases a year. Currently we are running over 1,500, close to 2,000 cases,” said Edward Gray, the OKC FBI Special Agent in Charge.
He said the six tribes in eastern Oklahoma encompass 45% of the state, totaling 1.9 million residents.
“Since July of 2020 after the SCOTUS decision regarding McGirt, we have been able to surge resources from around the country and internally to address those needs,” he said.
Surrounding offices in Tulsa, Muskogee, Durant, Ardmore & Norman increasing office space & staff to try and keep up with the demand.
“I have agents working in OKC that have come here from New York, LA, Texas, Sacramento, you name it. They like doing the work here, they see the impact we are making in the community and the justice we are obtaining for the victims,” said the OKC FBI Special Agent in Charge.
Gray said Partnerships are keeping them afloat as agents take on extra cases.
“Just this week I got up early meeting up with some of the tribal marshal’s, light horse police, law enforcement individuals. We have worked very closely to establish these partnerships to where we can best address the most violent crimes,” he said.
Governor Stitt has also brought up staffing concerns regarding the McGirt ruling. In a statement the Governor said:
“This is the latest admission from the federal government that violent crimes are going unprosecuted in eastern Oklahoma as a direct result of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the McGirt case, which is what Governor Stitt has been warning about from the very beginning.”
“When Oklahomans dial 911 in an emergency, they expect their local police department to be dispatched, not FBI agents who oftentimes have no experience in investigating and prosecuting crimes that always been left to state and local law enforcement like domestic violence, child abuse, rape, and strangulation. Federalizing half of our state is not a workable solution.”
"The FBI is not solely focused on McGirt and just those cases, we have surged a lot of resource to address that so we can continue to be involved in our traditional type cases,” Gray said. He added that this could pose a public risk if it is not addressed.