By Emory Bryan, The News On 6
TULSA, OK -- Tulsa's Interim Police Chief announced policy changes spurred by a federal corruption investigation of the department.
Chief Chuck Jordan said he signed a department order Friday morning restating the department's policy on being truthful.
"From this moment on, any officer who is untruthful... will be terminated," Jordan said.
The new policy re-states an existing policy of the department and clarifies there is no latitude on lying in court proceedings. The order states "termination will be the presumptive disciplinary action."
"It is essential that an officer's integrity and credibility are intact," Jordan's departmental order states. "Effective law enforcement is dependent upon the public trust."
The chief said it was needed to restore public confidence in officers. This clarifies what happens when officers violate their oath to tell the truth.
"This is something that we felt was absolutely necessary, that we had to do," said Jordan.
Jordan, Mayor Dewey Bartlett and FOP official Phil Evans all said they have approved the new clarification of the policy.
"It's never been unclear that they shouldn't lie. What has been sometimes disparate is the punishment handed out for it," Jordan said.
The new policy covers lying in sworn testimony, all affidavits and internal investigations. It's effective immediately, but not retroactive.
It doesn't impact the officers currently charged in federal court, who are now on leave without pay while the department starts the process of firing them.
"It used to be when I came on, they told us, ‘if you lie, you're gone,' but somehow through liberal court decisions or something, that got construed and went off into something like a ten day suspension for lying and we can't use those people," said Phil Evans, Fraternal Order of Police. "How can we trust what they say?"
Chief Jordan said he hoped the new policy would help restore public confidence in the department, and clarify what had become a watered down policy on the punishment for lying.
"We've had days off, reductions in rank, though in my view, those are, that's not enough. If you're willing to be untruthful in an official investigation, you don't need to be a police officer anymore," Jordan said.