Audit Finds 'System-Wide Failure' In Tulsa County Sheriff's Office

Thursday, February 25th 2016, 6:31 pm
By: News On 6

A Dallas-based agency, hired by Tulsa County Commissioners to audit the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, has released a report of its findings.

The audit was ordered following the shooting death of Eric Harris by Reserve Deputy Bob Bates. The assessment cost taxpayers $75,000.

The audit is 238 pages long and examines everything from the reserve deputy program to post-shooting investigations.

It says leaders within the sheriff's office have been abusing their power for almost a decade, which has led to many policies being ignored.

The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office has been under scrutiny since April 2015 when Bates shot and killed Harris.

Bates has been charged with second-degree manslaughter, and TSCO was investigated by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. Former Sheriff Stanley Glanz retired after the probe into his office.

Special Coverage: TSCO Reserve Deputy Shooting Controversy

Now, an independent audit confirms what many have speculated about for months, assessors said the agency has been in a decline for over a decade.

Auditors blame management for most of the problems. The report says that TCSO has been "in a perceptible decline for over a decade, during which time there developed a systematic and institutionalized practice of disregarding organizational policies and procedures."

"There was a lack of proper documentation, training and oversight. Individuals in leadership positions made unpredictable decisions and enforced punitive measures against individuals who disagreed with them, creating an atmosphere of distrust and low morale among employees.

The report says the reserve deputy program and its record keeping has the biggest issues, saying, "The reserve program with its disregard for proper policies, procedures, supervision, and administrative controls was simply the most visible manifestation of a system-wide failure of leadership and supervision.”

Auditors suggest the TCSO reserve officer program be terminated and reconstituted under a new codified set of policies and procedures.

It also addresses the use of force policy and post-shooting investigations.

It says, “TCSO response to the use of deadly force are complicated and confusing and the TCSO use of deadly force training is ineffective."

It suggests cleaning up policies, creating a step by step procedure and releasing information to the media as soon as possible.

The report also suggests the sheriff's office could save $2.5 million, primarily at the jail, by switching around a few positions, reducing detention officer turnover rates and increasing some of the user fees.

We'll be sitting down to interview sheriff Michelle Robinette about this audit next week.

Read the full audit report here: