8 reserve deputies leave Tulsa sheriff's office after audit

AP News
|
Posted: Sep 24, 2015 6:48 PM

TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Eight reserve deputies at the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office have left the program after an internal audit that found outdated or deficient files in more than half its reserve ranks, an agency spokesman said Thursday.

The audit was sparked by the fatal shooting of an unarmed man by another volunteer reserve deputy, Robert Bates, who was a close friend of the sheriff and donated thousands of dollars in cash and equipment to the agency.

Five of the eight deputies elected to retire and three had to leave the program because they couldn't produce the required paperwork, office spokesman Terry Simonson said. He declined to specify what documentation couldn't be supplied, calling the matter confidential.

Earlier this month, the sheriff's office said it had found deficiencies in about 50 of its 128 of its reserves ranks, but a copy of the audit released Thursday showed files of 64 of 112 reserve files had deficiencies, including outdated or missing mental health training or annual firearms qualification documents. Sheriff's officials had called many of the discrepancies clerical in nature.

"Some of it was as simple as needing a copy of your driver's license or proof of your range training," Simonson said.

The reserve deputy program has been suspended since Eric Harris died in April after he was shot by Bates, who said he mistook his handgun for a stun gun. Bates has left the agency and has pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter.

A grand jury is also investigating allegations of wrongdoing in the sheriff's office after the release of a 2009 memo that questioned Bates' competency and whether he and others received special treatment in return for the gifts. Jurors met in Tulsa for the eighth week and heard testimony from Sheriff Stanley Glanz on Wednesday.

Thousands of county residents petitioned to empanel the grand jury after the shooting, and Glanz had hired an outside law firm at county commissioners' approval to fight the case all the way to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, where he lost this summer. His legal fees have so far cost the county more than $23,000, according to an invoice released Thursday.