Interim Okla. sheriff was asked to investigate leaked 2009 memo

The 2009 memo alleged top officials knew Robert Bates was inadequately trained but pressured other officers to look away

By Justin Juozapavicius
Associated Press

TULSA, Okla. — An indicted Oklahoma sheriff instructed his soon-to-be replacement earlier this year to investigate a 2009 internal report that questioned the lack of training of a volunteer deputy who fatally shot an unarmed man.

An internal memo dated May 18 shows Sheriff Stanley Glanz asked Tulsa County Undersheriff Rick Weigel, who took over daily operations at the embattled agency, to commission a report on what and when Glanz knew about the 2009 investigation into volunteer deputy Robert Bates, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree manslaughter in the fatal shooting of Eric Harris in April.

The 2009 memo alleged top officials knew Bates, who said he mistook his handgun for a stun gun, was inadequately trained but pressured other officers to look away.

Glanz was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday on two misdemeanor counts and submitted his resignation shortly thereafter. Glanz's attorney, Scott Wood, said Glanz plans to step down by Nov. 1 — nine days before a hearing on the indictments.

The grand jury gave eight recommendations for the office that appeared to address the 2009 memo, and Weigel pledged Thursday to implement those. Jurors called for better accountability of field training hours and suggested that the office's internal affairs department be more autonomous.

"It's no secret that the agency has suffered a setback in regard to public confidence and the perception of what our role is in serving the citizens of Tulsa County," Weigel said at a news conference, reading from a brief, prepared statement. Weigel took no questions.

The contents of the May 18 memo were attached as a grand jury exhibit made public Wednesday, and had a set of questions Glanz wanted Weigel to have answered, including whether anyone gave Glanz a copy of the findings of the 2009 investigation or whether Bates was told of the report.

Bates was a close friend of Glanz and donated thousands of dollars in cash and equipment to the agency, and his training and close ties raised questions about the reserve deputy program and whether Bates and others received special treatment in return for the gifts. Bates has left the agency.

The sheriff's office had repeatedly denied the existence of the 2009 memo before it was released by an attorney for the Harris family after the April shooting. One of the misdemeanor counts accuses Glanz, who did not return a message seeking comment Thursday, of not releasing the report.

Weigel will handle the sheriff's duties until Glanz officially leaves office. Gov. Mary Fallin then has 30 days to call a special election to fill the remainder of his term, which expires in 2016.

Glanz will be entitled to draw his pension under state law — estimated to be between $65,000 and $68,000 a year based on his 27 years as sheriff— because he is indicted on misdemeanor, not felony, counts, according to county spokesman Michael Willis.

"What it comes down to is a straight interpretation of what the state law says about this," Willis said. "We have indictments and we don't know if they will turn into charges. We don't know if prosecutors will charge him. We don't know if his resignation will placate them."

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press

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