Former Cop Loses Federal Appeal, Writes Letter To 'Citizens Of Tulsa'

Friday, January 31st 2014, 1:08 pm
By: News On 6

A retired Tulsa police officer in prison for corruption has written a letter to the citizens of Tulsa after losing his appeal.

Retired Corporal Harold Wells is serving a 10-year sentence in a federal prison in Duluth, Minnesota.

In June of 2011, a jury convicted Wells five of eight counts, including carrying firearm during drug trafficking, conspiracy to possess and distribute meth, stealing $1,000 in U.S. funds, plus aiding and abetting in its theft and using a communications facility to commit a drug felony.

His wife of almost 42 years has moved to Minnesota so she can visit him regularly.

6/12/2011: Related Story: Two Of The Three Accused Tulsa Officers Acquitted

He filed an appeal, but earlier this month the Tenth Circuit of Appeals denied it and affirmed his conviction.

That led him to write a letter to the citizens of Tulsa.  

In it, he says he's not perfect, but that he's innocent of all the charges against him.

Below is the letter as News On 6 received it:

To the citizens of Tulsa,

Out of deference to the legal process I have kept these thoughts to myself. But as a Tulsa Police Officer I am accountable to you for my conduct and service.

To serve as a Tulsa Police Officer for these many years was a privilege and an honor. It was for me a childhood dream which would later be realized as a calling. I was born and raised in Tulsa and would never leave the area but for a brief time to attend college and serve in the military.

My service on the force was almost split in half between the patrol division (my first love) and narcotics investigations. I would transition in and out of these assignments 3 or 4 times and would retire from the UDN, the same area of the city where I began my career 34 years earlier. My assignments (by choice) would never take me far from the front lines of service.

Over my 34 years as a police officer my life was like a sponge soaking up as much life as I could in a world full of tragedy, drama, conflict, confusion, and wonder. Your lives would be, on many different levels, woven into mine.

I've stopped traffic to allow turtles to cross the roadway. I've rolled around on a gravel parking lot fighting for my life. I've taken coffee and blankets to those living in appliance boxes and I've had one on one conversations with former Presidents and First Ladies. I've held the lifeless hands of children and fallen officers, praying for their brokenhearted families and for justice. I've been called upon to officiate memorial services of officers, officers' children and even a murder victim I had never met. I've also held the hands of those who would die in mere moments, promising them I would not leave them until this was over. I have been called to the Medical Examiner to identify a bullet ridden, mutilated body of a young lady whom all they knew was that she was murdered because the word on the street was she was an informant of Corporal Harold Wells - I had never met her.

I would give kids a ride in my police car for completing a reading assignment and in uniform would sit next to children as they would read aloud to me their very first book. I've had to pry dirty, tiny fingers of abandoned children from around my neck but never my heart. I took an old time career criminal fishing for the very first time in his 70+ years. He mentioned in passing that he had grown up without a father in the home and had spent the majority of his life in prison. On my next day off we went fishing (outside of TPD policy, I know). He was like a little kid when he caught his first fish; we laughed and cried. He died a few weeks later. Who gets this kind of life?

I was and am not perfect but I am innocent of every charge brought against me. I was not a party to any theft or drug conspiracy or any plan to commit such crimes. It is interesting who gets to redefine your life and how they go about doing it. The template for condemning the innocent is at least 2,000 years old and injustice still sickens me.

Friends, fellow officers who have worked, lived, and served alongside me every moment of my life, who have seen me in every situation imaginable would see the government's fragmented and altered evidence and would rightly conclude that Harold Wells had one motive and that was the systematic and proper collection of evidence in order to set the stage for a possible, successful prosecution of a drug trafficker. In a drug investigation you bait the suspect into a false sense of a relationship, security, and comfort. These conversations lead the drug dealer into a snare. Oddly enough when the appellate court judges asked the US Prosecutor what my "benefit or gain" was, he responded that I (Harold) was going to arrest the drug trafficker and get credit for it. The judges replied, isn't that what the citizens of Tulsa pay him to do? It sounds like a win/win situation to us.

Those who don't know me, my values, my core principles, my proven default positions in life would tell you and the jury that I had another interest outside the one stated above. And based on that my family is suffering great loss which cannot be measured. Why? I don't know.

I am not infallible. I've made my share of mistakes but you must know if I had been guilty I would have pled as such and my family, friends, and community would have graciously forgiven me. I would have moved on with my life. The plea agreements offered me were tempting but I could not testify falsely and commit perjury; admitting to something I did not do. Those agreements would have enabled me to avoid all this expense, sorrow, and prison time but I could not end my career on a falsehood.

So, to my life experiences, I've added the eerie moment when I looked into the faces of those who would judge me. Knowing that I would have willingly given my very life at any point in my career to save or protect theirs. They would join the prosecutors in taking away my freedom, liberty, and life.

Apart from God's grace captivating my life at the age of 16, the greatest thing that has happened to me in this life is the blessing of a precious wife and life partner. We grew up together attending Sheridan Road Baptist Church and started "going steady" when I was 14 and she was 12, almost 50 years ago. The jury would come back with a guilty verdict on our 39th year wedding anniversary. I was to spend that night on a concrete slab on suicide watch while Ronda would be surrounded by loving family and friends - all in shock. God has blessed us with a special love and relationship. She is that person in my life who knows the song of my heart and sings it back to me when I've forgotten the words.

The faces, the sounds, the smells, the laughter, the wonder, and the tears all factor in to my life experiences and memories. Much of what has happened to me is because of what happened to you. What remains to be seen is what will happen to you because of what has now happened to me. I pray it brings us closer to the Father and that we are kinder and more gracious today than we were yesterday.

Now, where do we turn? Our family and friends are grounded in faith - we have no Plan B. We follow God with our lives and will graciously, by His design, live the life in front of us.

One more day in His grace and love,

Harold Wells