ENID, Okla. — After more than a century without a city marshal, Enid hired a retired Enid Police Department officer to fill the role more than two years ago.
In the time since Darin Morris took on the badge of marshal, he has served more than 1,600 warrants and collected or made payment arrangements on more than $560,000 in fines and municipal court costs.
Morris said he enjoys interacting with the people who work for the city of Enid and getting a chance to help citizens get their troubles with the municipal court settled.
"I think its been positive," Morris said of his time as city marshal. "I help the the judge in court, at city council meetings they have security in the council chambers. There’s a few times I've taken people out of the courtroom that have been disruptive. I've also intervened when people are rude when paying their fines or bills. There’s a lot of people who come through there and sometimes people are upset."
The position is a collaborative effort between city of Enid legal department and police department. Morris has an office in the city of Enid complex. He took the position Nov. 1, 2016, after retiring from the police department in early that year.
Morris joined the department April 27, 1990. In his 26 years with the department, he served as a patrolman, a motorcycle officer within the traffic division, a detective, community policing officer and in the department's training division. He was named police officer of the year, twice.
There hasn’t been a city marshal since April 1907. When Alva Thrasher made chief in 1907, he used the title of chief of police instead of city marshal. Following the Land Run of 1893, when the city was organized and created a police department, the head official of the department was considered the city marshal.
E.C. Williams and Thomas Radford, two of the three men serving Enid as law enforcement officers and killed in the line of duty, were city marshals. The last city marshal was James Finland, who was appointed following Radford’s death in 1906.
Morris wears a badge similar to those worn by marshals more than a century ago. His uniform also has a patch similar to the patch police officers wear, only his says marshal.
He works five days a week, with municipal court being held Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. He said court usually taken an hour or two. He said unlike his time as a police officer, most contact with residents or those attending in court doesn't end with an arrest.
"A few times I’ve had to take people out in the hallway and explain to them what contempt of court means and the repercussions. And, usually, they calm down and we can get their case taken care of," Morris said. "It’s nice this way because I can get to talk to people, explain their options and get their warrants taken care of, or make their payments, instead of arrest them."
Morris said he is most often asked by residents about the status of their warrants or citations from police. He said anyone can visit the city of Enid website, www.enid.org, click on the city government tab and navigate to the "Municipal Court" section. There are two options under the tab: "My Traffic Ticket" and "Traffic & Criminal Cases."
Those who've received citations can check the status of a citation by searching with the citation number under "My Traffic Ticket." Those with a case can click "Traffic & Criminal Cases" and search by name, citation number, docket number or PD Case number.
"If there is a warrant or problem with the case, they can contact me and we can get something worked out," Morris said.
City Attorney Carol Lahman said working with a city marshal has been "great."
"He serves warrants, he's in court, he's available to talk to, he's available to talk residents that have complicated problems," she said. "We just had a man that had all sorts of questions about concealed carry and I told him you need to talk to our marshal. He’s helped me on some special projects."
Lahman said she's also asked Morris for advice on specific issues and relied on him to get records for the city attorney's office.
Assistant City Attorney William H. Gill IV said his experience working with a city marshal has been "excellent."
"He’s always been really friendly, easy to talk to, which I think makes him a good marshal," Gill said. "He's easy with people."
He said having a city marshal like Morris gives the legal office another tool to work with the public.
"I’ve enjoyed it," Morris said. "It’s been a good job."