Collinsville Police Chief Accused Of Mishandling Meth Lab Protocol
COLLINSVILLE, Oklahoma - A Green Country police chief is being investigated; Collinsville's Jimmie Richey is accused of sending officers into a meth lab, untrained and unprotected, but he says the claims against him are false.
This time last year, a labor department inspector cleared Richey of violating any serious hazard laws, but documents, given to us by union officials, show the chief is accused for a second time of putting his officers in jeopardy.
There are pages of documents stacked full of allegations against Richey.
“It is hard because you try to do the best job you know how, and sometimes you take some grief for it,” he said.
The grief the chief is getting is in regard to the way some sa he handles active meth labs.
Richey said the protocol is to call highly-trained meth-lab cleanup crews out of Owasso or Tulsa County; but some officers claim their boss ordered them into a home with an active meth lab to “clear the house,” despite not having any training or safety equipment to protect them from toxic fumes.
“There was one officer and myself that went into the residence because we had to deal with two subjects that came to the door and that's it,” Richey said.
While the chief denies any wrongdoing, the most recent complaint says Richey has retaliated against the officers who reported him to the labor department, by cutting hours and pay and stripping their ability to work part-time jobs.
Richey said those claims are lies.
“I want them to have a good work environment here. I want them to be happy here. I do everything I can to try to promote that,” he said.
Collinsville's city manager, Pam Polk, said there is no internal investigation at this time, but she, like the chief, said the report from the state will likely clear Richey's name a second time.
“The Department of Labor investigated the first complaint and it was determined it was unfounded. I think this one will have the same conclusion,” Polk said.
Richey said, “I'm confident the department will be exonerated of any of these allegations.”
The Department of Labor could only say it is currently investigating a complaint, so it's uncertain when the investigation will wrap up.