The abrupt end to Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz’s career was met Wednesday with sadness, shock and a sense of gratitude for his nearly 26 years of service.
But the most common sentiment expressed by those interviewed by The Frontier was a determination to move forward.
“I have confidence in the leadership team currently in place at the Sheriff’s Office,” said County Commissioner Karen Keith. “Undersheriff Rick Weigel and Chief Deputy John Bowman have taken major steps in response to issues arising out of the horrible incident with a reserve deputy that resulted in the tragic death of Eric Harris.”
Commissioner John Smaligo said Glanz had undoubtedly made the correct decision.
“I look forward to welcoming new leadership at the Sheriff’s Office as soon as his replacement is elected,” Smaligo said. “In the meantime, I would expect the grand jury’s suggested reforms will be implemented immediately by the undersheriff.”
Commissioner Ron Peters, meanwhile, said it was time to put “the matter behind us and move on to serving the citizens of Tulsa County.”
Glanz announced Wednesday that he would resign by Nov. 10. The announcement, in the form of a written statement, came minutes after a Tulsa County grand jury indicted Glanz on two misdemeanors and recommended that he be removed from office.
Nov. 10 is when court proceedings on the misdemeanor charges are scheduled to begin.
The indictments allege that Glanz broke state law when he refused to release a 2009 internal investigation into Reserve Deputy Robert Bates and that he illegally accepted a $600 a month car allowance while at the same time using a county vehicle.
Bates, a longtime friend of Glanz’s, was charged earlier this year with second-degree manslaughter after he shot and killed an unarmed man during a sting operation to retrieve stolen guns.
Bates has pleaded not guilty. His trial is scheduled to begin Feb. 8.
It was the shooting that led to a groundswell of criticism against the Sheriff’s Office and a grassroots organization’s petition drive to impanel a grand jury to investigate the department and remove Glanz from office.
“We have repeatedly requested for Sheriff Glanz to step down and now the grand jury has recommended the same,” We The People Oklahoma said in a prepared statement. “We take no pleasure in the process that has ensued since the death of Eric Harris. We take no pleasure in Glanz’s tarnished reputation and resignation, but we are satisfied with the grand jury’s findings.”
Sand Springs Police Chief Mike Carter said Glanz had a very distinguished career for years.
“I am certainly sorry to see the way it ended,” Carter said.
Sand Springs Mayor and Tulsa County Criminal Justice Authority Trustee Mike Burdge said Glanz had many years of untarnished service.
“It’s really sad it ended the way it did,” Burdge said.
Burdge said he believes Glanz may have made some bad decisions regarding the people he allowed to help run the Sheriff’s Office.
“The results are what we see now,” Burdge said.
Mayor Dewey Bartlett, who has long questioned the operation of the Tulsa Jail, which is run by the Sheriff’s Office, issued a statement after the grand jury findings were released.
“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,” Bartlett said. “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.”
Not everyone was as kind or diplomatic with their words regarding Glanz’s resignation and the grand jury’s findings.
The attorney for former Sheriff’s Office Maj. Shannon Clark, Eric Stall, said the grand jury’s finding against Glanz “for willful failure to release the 2009 report” on Bates vindicates his client.
“Shortly after rumors of the 2009 report surfaced, Mr. Clark urged Glanz to release the report to the media, but Glanz refused to do so,” Stall said. “Ultimately, Mr. Clark was fired from the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office, in part, because Glanz misbelieved that Mr. Clark had released the 2009 report to the media.”
Stall went on to say that he intends to proceed with a wrongful termination lawsuit against the Sheriff’s Office.
Glanz was not in the courtroom Wednesday to hear the grand jury’s findings. Scott Wood, his attorney, said Glanz was driving through Kansas on his way back from a conference in Denver.
Before the grand jury findings were announced at 2 p.m. by Tulsa County District Judge Rebecca Nightingale, Glanz spoke briefly by phone to The Frontier.
Asked whether he knew what the grand jury’s findings were, he said “Yes,” but declined to comment further.
Asked whether he would be willing to speak after the findings were made public, Glanz replied curtly: “No, I’m done.”
And less than a half hour later, he was.