An Oklahoma bill will let law enforcement officers off the hook for jury duty if Governor Kevin Stitt signs off on it.
House Bill 2746 would exempt law enforcement officers from jury duty if they reside in a county with a population of more than 255,000 people, or if they are federal officers. In smaller localities, officers would still be available for jury duty in noncriminal cases only.
According to lawmakers, the intent of the bill is to maximize law enforcement’s time serving and protecting the community in the capacity of a police officer.
Republican Rep. Ross Ford told Fox 25, “This protects residents in our communities from losing the services of their law enforcement officers. Many times, the officers are not chosen for jury duty anyway because of an obvious conflict of interest. Being called and having to wait until they are dismissed removes them from duty, leaving their departments and the citizens they serve without public safety services. This keeps them on the job.”
Others say the law would make jury duty one less thing officers have to worry about.
Senator Joe Newhouse, R-Tulsa, said “Our hardworking law enforcement officers have plenty of duties on their plate as it is, and the last thing they should worry about is jury duty, especially since they seldom get selected anyway.”
He continued, “This measure allows our law enforcement officers to focus on keeping our cities, streets, and neighborhoods safe, priorities I know all Oklahomans can share.”
The bill passed in the Senate with a 47-0 vote and now moves to the governor’s desk.