Tulsa Police Make Policy Changes After Corruption Trials

Friday, August 26th 2011, 10:04 pm
By: News On 6

Ashli Sims, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Tulsa's police chief spoke out for the first time since the federal corruption trial that ended with one officer freed and another bound for prison.

08/23/2011 Related Story: Tulsa Police Trial: Henderson Guilty On 8 Counts, Yelton Acquitted

Chief Chuck Jordan says the department is working to regain your trust.

He says this was not a systemic problem, but the wrongdoing of a few. Yet, it's caused sweeping changes in how the department deals with confidential informants and undercover drug buys.

After almost a decade away from TPD, Chief Chuck Jordan says even he was shocked by the allegations of drug dealing, corruption, and lying by those who were sworn to serve and protect.

"I'll be honest and I came back and I was just astounded that there were even those allegations, 'cause that's not what we were in the Tulsa police department. And it still isn't," he said.

But the federal corruption trials and investigations have left their mark on the department. Some were cleared, like Officer Bill Yelton who was released this week after spending a year behind bars.

Officers Nick DeBruin and Bruce Bonham were also acquitted. But Corporal Harold Wells was found guilty of drug trafficking and stealing money during an FBI sting.

Jeff Henderson was convicted of lying on the witness stand. JJ Gray and ATF agent, Brandon McFadden, both pled guilty to corruption and drug charges, but cut deals with federal prosecutors to testify against the others.

Chief Jordan admits policies were lax and the system was too trusting.

"Because you trust people, at some point in time you gotta recognize that there's going to be a bad apple once in a while. and we've had a couple of them," Chief Jordan said.

TPD has revamped its policies on everything from undercover drug buys to the handling of seized cash.

"Prior to last year we didn't have a policy to fire an officer if they lied. We established a no tolerance policy," he said.

Jordan says a captain now has to be there when cash is seized and counted, and there's more oversight of confidential informants.

He also says ethics are now being stressed at every course taught to new cadets at the academy and during training.

"I know that my men and women are doing everything that they can to get rid of the stigma and let the public know that they are trustworthy and that we are a premier police department," Chief Jordan said.

Police Chief Jordan says these policy changes didn't just happen with this week's corruption trial verdict. These are changes that have been taking place since the indictments were released more than a year ago.