Year Inducted: 2011The law enforcement career of Luther Bishop began only a few years after Oklahoma became a state. He was a small town peace officer, a deputy sheriff, a deputy US marshal, and an Oklahoma City Police Department detective. Without any formal training, Bishop learned how to be an effective investigator. His investigative experience included conducting liquor raids, tracking down train robbers, hunting bank robbers, and gathering evidence that would hold up in court. The newspapers of the day described Bishop as the "two gun state operative who faced outlaws with a gun in each hand."
A crime wave of fifty-two Oklahoma bank robberies in 1924 prompted Governor Trapp to create an agency of special investigators to combat outlaws. In 1925 the legislature appropriated $78,000 to establish the State Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation, now known as the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Luther Bishop was one of the Bureau's first three agents and was credited with reducing bank robberies in the state by 75 percent in just one year.
When the federal government was engaged in their investigation of the murders of Osage Indians in Oklahoma, federal authorities requested the assistance of OSBI agent Luther Bishop. Together with FBI agent Frank Smith, Bishop solved the case known as the "Reign of Terror of the Osage Hills." Agent Bishop was shot and killed in his own home under suspicious circumstances. It is believed he was murdered as a result of his work for the State Bureau of Investigation.