Stillwater News Press

Local News

August 27, 2013

Retired Stillwater Police Chief helped modernize the force

STILLWATER, Okla. — Hilary Driggs patrolled the streets on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle in his early years as a Stillwater police officer. His straight-forward approach to law enforcement eventually led to a desk job as Driggs served as the city’s police chief for approximately 10 years.

“He was quite a guy,” Stillwater’s Director of Public Safety Norman McNickle said Monday. “He was a no-nonsense type of guy who expected you to do your job.”

Driggs, 92, died Sunday. Services are 10 a.m. Thursday at Strode Funeral Home Chapel, Stillwater.

Driggs served in World War II. His repair ship was part of the fleet that enforced terms of surrender in northern Japan on Sept. 9, 1945. He joined the Stillwater Police Department in 1953. In 30 years, he saw the department grow from a 14-person operation with one motorcycle and two police vehicles to 45 officers and 17 vehicles when he retired on Jan. 4, 1984.

“He was a longtime motor officer and rode a Harley for the city,” McNickle said.

Driggs reorganized the department by adding fitness programs, increasing training, hiring civilians as radio dispatchers, switching from officers supplying uniforms and equipment to the city providing those items and construction of a wing to the municipal building complex.

McNickle said Driggs was an old school lawman who encouraged officers to use tried-and-true methods. However, if a younger officer used a new technique to solve a crime, “he was happy with it.”

Driggs hired McNickle in 1976. Their working relationship evolved into a friendship over the years. He visited Driggs several times in the past few months.

The former chief was a charter member of the Stillwater Fraternal Order of Police. McNickle said the Stillwater Police Department will provide an honor guard and funeral escort at Thursday’s services, which he expects will be well attended by current and retired Stillwater police officers.

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