Tulsa's chief of police put on administrative leave by the mayor

Monday, February 20th 2006, 11:16 am
By: News On 6

A major shakeup in the Tulsa Police Department Monday morning.

Mayor Bill LaFortune has put Police Chief Dave Been on administrative leave. The mayor says the chief failed to notify him about a report that was highly critical of the department's SWAT team.

News on 6 reporter Steve Berg says Mayor Bill LaFortune says he didn't even know the report was being done, much less know about the results. At a news conference Monday morning, the mayor says he found out about the report through a third party, about a week after he says the chief got the report.

LaFortune says he met with the chief and other police department leadership last Tuesday, and the report was never brought up. He says the chief is on leave with pay and that there would be an internal review. He says he doesn't know when he'll make a final decision on the chief's fate. "I am absolutely outraged that a report of this nature would be withheld from me for even a moment, upon its receipt. Preliminary information we have garnered has show that the chief even attempted to withhold the report from leadership within his own department."

Among other things, the report states that "there is disunity, tension, and disagreement with the Tulsa Police Department family that is unacceptable and counter to the best interests and safety of the people of Tulsa."

It says "the situation has existed for several years and is growing, not diminshing."

The mayor and acting police chief Bill Wells did not elaborate, but said it was specific to the SWAT team and said it was prompted by strategies used in a couple of different incidents.