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Retired Osage police officer comes back to her roots

Terri Silva is the second female police officer to work with the ONPD
Terri Silva, Osage, is the second female police officer to work with the ONPD. Photo by Jacelle Ramon-Sauberan/Osage News

Terri Silva always wanted to work for the Osage Nation Police Department and in March her dream finally came true.

“For a long time I wanted to come work for the Osage Nation because it is in the roots of my family,” Silva said.

Silva is the second Osage female police officer to join the ON Police Department. The first Osage female police officer was Martha Donelson who worked for the ON from 2004-2007.

“The last time we had a female police officer was in 2007,” said Nick Williams, Osage Nation Interim Chief of Police. “It is something that needed to be done and it is something positive for our police department.”

Silva was born and raised in Bartlesville. Her parents are Ben and Jeannine Yaseck.

Her grandmother is Blanche Mikels, Osage, and her great-grandmother is Areina Tayrien, Osage.

Silva said her great-grandmother was one of the original allottees and her allotted land is where the Wah-Shah-She Girl Scout Camp is now located, southwest of Bartlesville.

In 1990, Silva completed her training at the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) Academy.

She was a police officer for the City of Bartlesville from 1990-2012. For eight of those years she was a field-training officer. She was in charge of teaching new officers the proper procedures in handling different crimes and calls.

On February 21, Silva retired from the City of Bartlesville police force after 21 years.

Silva said she felt it was time for her to retire and move on. Plus the opportunity for her to work for the Osage Nation came up after her son, Nicholas Silva, joined the ON Police Department in October.  

“I’m proud that my son and I can represent the Osage Nation,” Silva said. 

Silva is also proud of the positive feedback she has been receiving from the community.

“I get responses from a lot of people who say, ‘The Nation has a woman working for the police department?’ and I tell them ‘yes, there is,’” Silva said.

Silva said there are also some community members who have asked her if she is Osage.

“I tell them (community members) yes I am Osage even though I have blonde hair and blue eyes,” Silva said.

Currently, the ON Police Department has 17 active police officers including the Chief of Police. And there is one officer who is employed by the Osage Nation Attorney General’s Office. 

Williams adds that having a female police officer helps when dealing with situations such as domestic violence or sexual assault victims.

“Female police officers have a more nurturing outlook and some victims just feel more comfortable talking to a female (officer) rather than a male,” Williams said. 

Williams adds that the ON Police Department is working toward balancing the male to female ratio.

In August, Rhoda Holleman, Choctaw, will be joining the ON Police Department. Currently, she is at the CLEET Academy for three months for basic training.

Silva is looking forward to working with Holleman and welcoming her to the ON Police Department family.

“We are just like one big family,” Silva said. “I enjoy working over here and I have a lot of pride in what I do as a police officer and even more pride working for the Osage Nation.” 

She said she plans to stay and work for the Osage Nation for as long as she can.

“I love working for the Osage Nation, I absolutely love it and the department is great and the guys are really good to work with.”