Retired Police Officer Accused Of Taking Evidence From Bartlesville PD

Tuesday, April 24th 2007, 10:07 am
By: News On 6

The Bartlesville Police chief calls it tragic. After months of investigation, officials there think they know who took drugs from the evidence room of the police station, and it's one of their own. Kyle Willaford was a 23-year veteran of the Bartlesville Police Department. The News On 6’s Steve Berg reports he now faces 18 felony counts of larceny of controlled substances.

Acting Police Chief Tom Holland described his reaction when he found out about the allegations.

"Oh terrible, it flies in the face of what we stand for and the oath of office that we have all taken down here to obey the laws of the United States and the state of Oklahoma," said Holland.

Holland has known 46-year-old Kyle Willaford for years and considers him a friend and a good officer. Willaford is accused of pilfering drugs from the police station's evidence room for several years.

"The cases that we dealt with in this particular instance were all hydrocodone and Lortabs,” said District Attorney Rick Esser. “The incidents go all the way back to the year 2000 and continued until 2006."

Esser says they don't believe Willaford meant to sell the drugs. Instead, the affidavit mentions Willaford's back problems as motive. He says most of the drugs were connected with cases that didn't involve a crime or that had already been otherwise resolved. But then, he says some drugs went missing that were tied to a pending criminal case, and that raised a red flag.

"Usually the evidence is submitted to the OSBI for analysis, but in this particular case, it could not be found in the evidence locker," said Esser.

Esser says only two cases had to be dismissed as a result of Willaford's alleged thefts, but they say it could have been much worse considering that Willaford is accused of stealing drugs two dozen different times.

"It is very serious,” Esser said. "I think we've determined who was responsible, and as a result, the charges have been filed, and we hope to put this to rest and restore the confidence the public has in the police department as a result."

"We just want to make sure our hands are clean and our house is in order, so this never happens again," said Holland.

The police department has put in new cameras, new locks and new procedures to guard against that. We called Willaford's attorney for a response but have not yet heard back from him.

To view the affidavit click here.

To view the charges against Kyle Willaford click here.

Related stories:

1/17/2007 - OSBI Investigating Missing Drugs In Bartlesville Police Department

1/26/2007 - Bartlesville Police Chief Gets "No Confidence" Vote

3/2/2007 - Police Chief Announces Retirement

4/8/2007 - Missing Police Evidence Investigation Delayed

4/18/2007 - Report On Missing Police Evidence Done