Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz resigns after grand jury indictments

Embattled Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz will resign following the release of two misdemeanor indictments and a recommendation of removing him from office as a result of a grand jury investigation.

A third indictment, which was sealed, was also returned by the grand jury September 30.

The grand jury was triggered after Reserve Deputy Robert Bates said he accidentally pulled his gun instead of a stun gun and shot and killed suspect Eric Harris on April 2 during an undercover operation. That led to questions about the level of training for Bates and other reserve officers.

Glanz will step down, probably officially on November 1. A hearing on the indictments is set for Nov. 10 before Presiding Judge Rebecca Nightingale.

Undersheriff Rick Weigel will be acting sheriff until a new one is elected. Gov. Mary Fallin has set a special general election to fill the sheriff’s post on April 5. A primary will be March 1, with a candidate filing period from Dec. 7 to 9.  Glanz has previously said he would not run for re-election.

The grand jury accused Glanz of failing to perform his official duties for not promptly releasing documents surrounding an internal investigation of the Bates situation.

Bates and Glanz have been friends for a long time. A memo from 2009 indicated that Bates got special treatment and a group collected thousands of signatures calling for an independent investigation.

Bates made vehicle and equipment donations to the Sheriff’s Office, as well as contributions to Glanz’s election campaigns. Bates served as campaign manager for Glanz’s re-election bid in 2012.

The grand jury accused Glanz of breaking the law in an unrelated incident over a stipend he got for a vehicle. Glanz gets a $600 a month car stipend from the county.

Tulsa County District Attorney Steve Kunzweiler has asked Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt that Kunzweiler’s office not handle the charges against Glanz because they have previously defended him as sheriff in other legal matters.

Kunzweiler said two advisers to the grand jury — Okmulgee County District Attorney Rob Barris and Washington County District Attorney Kevin Buchanan — will be appointed.

“Now that a recommendation has been made from the Grand Jury and Sheriff Glanz made the decision to step down, it is time we move forward as a community for our residents and businesses in Tulsa,” said Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett. “ This has been a very difficult time for our community and all of the families involved. Public safety is a priority for the city of Tulsa and our partnership with Tulsa County is as important as ever. With the grand jury behind us, we can now focus on our jail contracts and look forward to working with the future leadership in the Sheriff’s Office.”

The grand jury listed eight recommendations for the sheriff’s office, including:

  1. TCSO policies should be followed closely and uniformly.
  2. The TCSO should adopt an internal policy that even if a person has been certified by CLEET, if they have been absent from law enforcement for more than five years they must complete the full application process, testing and training requirements for a full-time deputy.
  3. TCSO should establish and follow policies specifically regarding training and experience requirements for assignment by department.
  4. The method of training and personnel documentation compliance needs to be improved. The grand jury suggests forming a committee that would make sure the training and personnel records are complete, uniform and up to date. These records should be regularly audited.
  5. TCSO should have better accountability of field training hours.
  6. Any time a transfer or reassignment happens, a copy of the deputy’s training records should accompany that reassignment and be signed off on as complete by leadership.
  7. TCSO should make the internal affairs department more autonomous from the TCSO itself.
  8. TCSO should create a fully anonymous way for employees to report an issue.

In a statement, Glanz said, “I know that my decisions have caused some to criticize me both publicly and privately. As sheriff, I take responsibility for all decisions made by me or in my name, but I assure you they were all made in good faith. I truly regret that any of my actions have led to the impaneling of this grand jury and the disruptions in the lives of the jurors and the witnesses.”