Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: November 30, 2012
Coates plans legislation to restrict Insurance Commissioner’s
law enforcement build-up
In response to news that Oklahoma Insurance Commissioner
John Doak authorized the purchase of more than $180,000 of guns,
police-package vehicles and high-tech law enforcement equipment,
Coates on Friday said he was planning legislation to restrict
the agency’s efforts to adopt a police-like posture.
The Insurance Department typically investigates white-collar crime.
The items purchased by the agency, including bullet-proof vests
and mountable shotgun lights, are often used by police and SWAT
Coates said his legislation would be designed to prevent the Insurance
Department from giving the public the impression they are a police
force. The Seminole Republican said he was concerned that an agency
whose revenue is driven by fees and fines might be adopting a police
posture to generate revenue through intimidation.
“Oklahomans have gone to the polls in recent years to send
the message that we need fewer bureaucrats, not heavily armed bureaucrats.
Put simply, the deployment of weaponry and police-package vehicles
by the Insurance Department is absurd,” said Coates, R-Seminole.
“Not only is it wasteful spending, but it stands to create
more problems than it solves. The Insurance Commissioner should
have weighed the risk to the public, and questioned whether this
was defensible as a legitimate function of his agency, which it
Coates said his legislation will specify the conditions under which
agency personnel can possess weapons, and restrict the use of specialized
motor vehicles like the police-style SUVs recently purchased by
“I’m confident Oklahoma taxpayers will not be pleased
to find they’ve bought $180,000 of SWAT-style equipment for
an agency that doesn’t need it,” said Coates. “It
could lead people to the conclusion the Insurance Commissioner is
simply using every available public resource he can access to broaden
his visibility for political purposes.”
For more information contact:
Sen. Coates: (405) 521-5547