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Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, ODOC has partnered with Securus Technologies to provide inmates two free phone calls each week while visitation was suspended. With visitation reopening, these free phone calls will continue until April 15. After April 15, phone calls will still be permitted, subject to standard rates and policies.

ODOC officer moonlights as mayor

Monday, May 04, 2020

LEXINGTON, Okla. – You need to be versatile to work for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Nobody illustrates that more than this guy.  

“I wear many hats,” transport officer Michael Heltcel said. “I work for the volunteer fire department, school bus driver, and I work for the DOC now.”   

Michael is a transport officer at Lexington Assessment and Reception Center. It’s his responsibility to get sick inmates to and from area hospitals safely. His job is especially challenging these days.  

“We are just trying to keep everybody safe,” Heltcel said. 

And not just at LARC. Down the road from the prison, In Wanette, Oklahoma, Michael has been the mayor for years. It’s a small town with a vulnerable population.  

“Our community is mostly older people,"the Mayor said. “If we didn’t have them, Wanette would be here today.” 

He’s been part of some difficult discussions, like closing the Wanette Senior Citizens Center be cause of coronavirus concerns.  

“If you want meals, they deliver on Tuesdays and Fridays," Mayor Heltcel said. 

Whether it’s at the prison or in his community, the goal is always the same.  

“We are trying to do our part to keep this virus from coming in,” Heltcel said.  


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