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Suspended police chief reacts to mayor's non-decision

Mayor Bill LaFortune announced today, he would not do anything about the chief's job before next week's election.

The police department called its own news conference and Chief Dave Been talks for the first time since a review of him was released last week.

News on 6 anchor Lori Fullbright covers all three sides.

The mayor's news conference had to be the shortest of his career: two minutes long.

He read a statement and refused to answer questions. He said he will take decisive and significant action concerning Chief Dave Been's status, but, not now, for fear it will reek of politics.

"It would be irresponsible to act on a matter of this magnitude one week before the election, that plus the sheer volume and magnitude of information in the report, I need to take the necessary time and get all the facts and talk to the appropriate people before taking any action," said LaFortune.

Chief Been is on his sixth week of paid suspension, ever since the Mayor got mad that the chief didn't hand over a negative, interim SWAT report for five days.

The mayor appointed an attorney to review the chief's handling of the report. That attorney concluded suspending the chief during the review was correct and there is animosity among top leaders in the police department.

Chief Been's attorney wrote a letter to the Mayor that says in part, the attorney's review was "...sloppy disconnected, full of errors and hurriedly done, apparently to coincide with the mayoral election."

It also says, "In your haste to release a report that pats you on the back, it appears you may have violated the law" because Chief Been was never told his information would be publicly disclosed.

"I said from the beginning I had confidence this would be a fair report," Been says, "But, it's clearly now a politically orchestrated attempt at character assasination, not only of me but, the police department."

The police department called a news conference after spending the weekend reviewing the findings from attorney Frank Hagedorn.

Acting Chief Bill Wells says, "As a police department, we have never released investigative information about personnel issues. We are disappointed Mr. Hagedorn released the full report and will not openly discuss the concerns raised."

They did say the police department is not as divided as the report makes it seem and they want to reassure people that despite all this flak flying around, Tulsa officers are still hard-working, professionals who are answering 9-1-1 calls and solving crimes.

Things are still up in air until after the election. Chief Been says whoever is elected, he hopes they re-instate him so the department can get focused on the right things again as soon as possible.

Click here to read a response from Chief Been's attorneys.
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