City Manager Dave Neely said Tuesday that Nicholas Mahoney has been hired to be the new Pawhuska police chief. Mahoney began work Tuesday, Neely said.
Mahoney has been a trainer for police at Broken Arrow Public Schools, and was previously employed as a major for the Wagoner County Sheriff's Office, where he was the public relations spokesperson, Neely said.
Mahoney was in the process of meeting Pawhuska Police Department officers, Neely said.
Neely also announced Tuesday that Kenneth Freeman will be the new EMS director for Pawhuska. Freeman is with Bartlesville EMS, Neely said. He explained that Freeman will come on-board on a part-time basis with Pawhuska until he moves to town. Freeman will also remain with Bartlesville on a part-time basis for now, Neely said.
Neely said he intended to share the hiring decisions Tuesday night with the Pawhuska City Council at its regular meeting.
“I am pleased to have some people with such great backgrounds,” Neely told the Journal-Capital. “They will both be very positive influences on our departments and our community.”
Pawhuska had terminated former police chief Nick Silva during an investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation that began in early 2020 at the request of Osage County District Attorney Mike Fisher. Fisher on Tuesday said that the investigation is now in the hands of the Washington County District Attorney's Office. Fisher said he no longer has jurisdiction over the matter.
Mahoney will be the Pawhuska Police Department's fourth chief in fewer than 18 months. Chief Scott Laird stepped aside. Rex Wikel followed him, but gave up the post to become assistant city manager (a position he no longer holds), and Silva followed Wikel.
Silva had been the subject of public controversy on more than one occasion as Pawhuska's chief, and the community now awaits some announcement from authorities about the outcome of the investigation that Fisher requested.