Both chambers of the legislature are taking a run at consolidating the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs into one agency.
House Bill 2910 essentially proposes folding OBNDD into OSBI. Rep. Bobby Cleveland said there are too many state agencies and too much duplication of effort.
"OUPD investigates drugs. They’re even out on Highway 9 giving tickets. The sheriff investigates drugs, he’s out on Highway 9 giving tickets. Norman PD investigates drugs, they’re out on Highway 9 giving tickets. We got the Highway Patrol. They’re out on Highway 9 giving tickets," Cleveland said.
The move may save $6 million to $9 million a year. Rep. Matt Meredith said given the opioid crisis and OBNDD's role in combating it, it’s not worth it.
"The training [the narcotics direcotor] has is totally different than the training of the OSBI director. That’d be like asking the former sheriff from Idabel, McCurtain County, to go into a doctor’s office and try to run it. It just doesn’t happen," Meredith said.
Senate Bill 1304 does not go as far. It tells OSBI and OBNDD to share data, communications, training, tools, and office space in Tulsa, Woodward, Lawton and McAlester.
Sen. Roger Thompson said he’s also spoken to the highway patrol chief and public safety commissioner, and they’re being asked to collaborate with the investigative agencies on future troop headquarters.
"Where there is a public safety building if at all possible we’re going to put all the public safety offices within that building," Thompson said.
The measures have passed their respective chambers.