By KEVIN CANFIELD
Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith told The Frontier she has spoken to Sheriff Stanley Glanz about whether he should resign.
Keith declined to provide specifics of the conversation, but when asked whether she believes the long-time sheriff should step down due to the controversy surrounding his office, Keith said: “My preference would be for him to come to that realization on his own.”
On Monday, the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation announced it was officially looking into allegations of misconduct in the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.
Glanz, 72, has faced intense scrutiny since his longtime friend, TCSO reserve deputy Robert Bates, shot and killed a man April 2. Bates, also Glanz’s re-election campaign manager, was participating in an undercover operation to recover stolen guns.
Bates was charged with second-degree manslaughter and has pleaded not guilty.
Fallout from the incident — and other investigations involving the Sheriff’s Office — has led to the resignation of Undersheriff Tim Albin and Maj. Tom Huckeby and the firing of Maj. Shannon Clark.
Clark’s termination is reportedly unrelated to issues surrounding Bates and the reserve deputy program.
On Monday, the Sheriff’s Office placed Capt. Bill McKelvey on administrative leave. The move comes four days after McKelvey was named in a lawsuit alleging a former employee, Vanessa McFadden, was subject to “hostile and malicious conduct.”
The lawsuit also alleged that McKelvey altered a police report about a 2013 assault by an inmate on McFadden.
Keith said she is grateful that Glanz, who has served more than 25 years as sheriff, has been working hard to reorganize his office and is seeking an outside consultant to review operations.
Glanz confirmed Monday that Keith has spoken to him about resigning but said he has no plans to do so.
“She has talked to me about my health, but other than that she thinks the decision is up to me,” the sheriff said.
Commissioner John Smaligo said he is not yet convinced that he should call for Glanz’s resignation.
“I am not to the point where I would be able to call for the sheriff’s resignation,” Smaligo said.
He declined to say at what point he would be.
Commissioner Ron Peters said he believes the decision is up to Glanz.
“If he thinks maybe he has not been as on top of it (as he would like), and would like to fix that, then I think he should be given that opportunity,” Peters said.
The Board of County Commissioners has the authority to remove Glanz from office, according to state law, but that would require commissioners to present evidence of wrongdoing by Glanz.
The board has taken no such action.
“Until that finding is made, we have no power to take that action to remove him,” Peters said.
According to Oklahoma law, a county officer can be removed from office for any of the following reasons: habitual or willful neglect of duty; gross partiality in office; oppression in office; corruption in office; extortion or willful overcharge of fees in office; willful maladministration; habitual drunkenness; and failure to produce and account for all public funds and property in his hands, at any settlement or inspection authorized or required by law.
A 2009 internal affairs investigation into Bates’ training found multiple policy violations by Albin and Huckeby. Glanz initially said that investigation found no policy violations, then when the report surfaced, said he had never seen the report and was unaware of the details of the investigation.
We The People Oklahoma, the grassroots organization behind rallies and protests in the wake of the Eric Harris shooting, is gathering signatures seeking a grand jury investigation of Glanz.
Presiding Judge Rebecca Nightingale said in a written order May 8 approving the petition that if true, the allegations contained in the group’s petition “would warrant a bill of indictment.”
The petition lists 20 areas of inquiry, most surrounding Bates.
The inquiry also focuses on training that reserve deputies receive and allegations that Bates and others may have received partiality from Glanz.