Innovators of NPD

The Norman Police Department celebrated its centennial anniversary in 2019. In its more than 100 years of existence, the men and women who have worn the uniform and worked within its ranks have left lasting impacts through continued innovation. In 2021, we are celebrating the many contributions of the department's innovators. Each month, we will celebrate our own trailblazers and innovators. 

Innovators of NPD

Chief Don Holyfield | Years of Service 1963-1986

Image of Retired Chief Holyfield

Chief Don P. Holyfield, the 13th Chief of Police for the Norman Police Department, began his career as a police officer in 1963 walking a beat. In 1967, he was promoted to Sergeant and appointed to oversee personnel and training. It is in this position that Chief Holyfield began to leave his mark developing a recruitment and selection program for civilian and commissioned personnel, as well as the department's first Police Academy. He was promoted to Chief of Police at the age of 33 in 1975 and served in the position until his retirement in 1986. 

Below are few of Chief Holyfield' key innovations that continue to positively impact the department and community today. 

  • Developed & Implemented Safety Town
  • Implemented the Field Training Program 
  • Developed the Educational Incentive Program 
  • Started the Neighborhood Watch Program
  • Started the Norman Crime Stoppers Program 
  • Created the Norman Police Academy
  • Led the construction of the new police department and training facilities 
  • Introduced EMS to NPD
  • Initiated the computerization of the department

Learn more about Chief Don Holyfield's career and longstanding contributions here

MPO Lahoma Nelson | Years of Service 1972-1988

Image of Retired MPO Lahoma Nelson

One of the department's first female officers, Master Police Officer Lahoma Nelson was a true law enforcement pioneer. Lahoma Nelson was the Norman Police Department's first female civilian employee. She began working for NPD in the 1960s as a clerk. In 1972, she became one of the department's first female officers after graduating from the police academy.

Lahoma is best known for her work in community outreach and public safety education. A founder of Safety Town, Lahoma worked closely with Sooner Mall to establish and create the curriculum for Safety Town. Safety Town has taught generations of children biking and pedestrian safety since its enactment in 1977. Today, more than44 years later, Safety Town remains a staple in the community educating hundreds of children each June. A true labor of love, Lahoma remained an active part of Safety Town for more than 30 years and continued as a volunteer even after her retirement.

A fixture in the classroom, Lahoma also taught safety classes in schools and daycares across Norman and in Little Axe. Community education and outreach remains a priority in Norman due to Lahoma's efforts nearly five decades ago.

Learn more about MPO Lahoma Nelson's career and longstanding contributions here