Interim Tulsa County Sheriff Proposes Changes After Critical Audit
TULSA, Oklahoma - Following a very unflattering audit, the acting Tulsa County sheriff is putting forth a plan of action to implement change.
Reading through the audit, there are many mentions of abuse of power and lack of leadership, but Michelle Robinette said many are to blame for the department’s decade-long decline.
The acting sheriff said those leaders are no longer in the department, and she believes it wasn't the former sheriff abusing his power, but the undersheriff.
The 238-page audit reveals hundreds of problems within the Tulsa County Sheriff's office. The audit says the sheriff's office has been declining for over a decade.
Robinette said it's true, and the downward spiral started when former Undersheriff Bill Thompson died in 2004.
“He was a by the book guy, but then he died. When he died you could see the turn. Those who have been here 20-plus years can name the day this office started to change," Robinette said.
She said Glanz let his second in command have too much power, resulting in policies consistently being ignored, including on April 2, 2015, when Reserve Deputy Bob Bates shot and killed Eric Harris.
The audit found dozens of problems with the reserve program.
Auditors suggested the following changes:
First, starting the reserve program over from scratch, requiring more hours of training and making a single class of deputies.
Also, not allowing reserves to purchase and carry their own firearms while on-duty.
Robinette said it was a policy already in place, but one Bates clearly violated, and something a supervisor should have caught.
She believes that policy will never be ignored again in the future.
Robinette said, "You are carrying the gun we supply, you are going to train with what we train, you are going to qualify for what we expect you to quality or you aren't working for us."
The reserve deputy program hasn't been active for ten months and Robinette said it will be up to the next sheriff to reinstate it.
Some changes to the department are already in the works following the audit's findings.
She says the office plans to buy a new records management system and create new positions, including training director, open records manager and a community engagement supervisor.
Community Safety Institute Audit: