Tom Helm.

Tom Helm. Courtesy

Months ahead of the primary election date, but with only weeks remaining until the filing period begins, there are now eight men seeking to become Tulsa County’s next sheriff.

Tom Helm, a former TCSO deputy, Grand River Dam Authority officer and agent for Attorney General Scott Pruitt officially announced on Friday his bid for sheriff.

Helm, in a media release, identified his four top priorities for the beleaguered sheriff’s office.

He said he’s seeking to inspire the public to once again trust TCSO, but also to inspire the “exceptional employees at the Sheriff’s Office” to believe in themselves.

“I will repair the broken bond by investing in the employees and committing to the advancement of their education and training,” he said.

Helm said he’s seeking to overhaul the Tulsa County Assessor’s Office. Months ago, in an interview with The Tulsa World, then-Sheriff Stanley Glanz admitted the appraisers — whom the story said are paid up to $51,000 a year — are appointed as “patronage” positions. Helm said if he was elected sheriff, that type of “political patronage” system would be abolished.

Helm also said he would seek to end “the unhealthy and unproductive dispute” with the City of Tulsa over the inmate housing agreement. The two sides have been working without an agreement for more than a year.

Helm said he would also seek to end what he described as “wasteful spending,” such as lavish “vacation-like travel expenses” traveling deputies accrued “on the County’s dime.”

“I will work to identify and weed out governmental waste in the Sheriff’s Office and ensure that all monies spent contribute to the efficiency of operations,” he said in the release.

An investigation earlier this year by The Frontier showed that Glanz and his employees spent more than $500,000 on travel and training during a three year period, including stays at posh hotels, ordering expensive deserts from room service and sending the bill to the County.

Helm is now the eighth candidate for sheriff, though it’s possible that number could rise by the Dec. 7-9 filing date. Rick Weigel, who assumed the duties of Sheriff when Stanley Glanz stepped down after being charged with two misdemeanors, has indicated he was mulling a run for sheriff.

Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office Candidates

  • John Fitzpatrick, 59, businessman and longtime reserve officer for the Tulsa Police Department.
  • Tom Helm, 43, retired in 2013 from TCSO after serving for 20 years. Is currently an agent for the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office.
  • Jason Jackson, 42, longtime Jenks Police Department officer.
  • Dan Miller, 49, now a Corporal with TPD, has been an officer there for 20 years.
  • Vic Regalado, 44, 21 years with TPD, including time in homicide and on the gang unit.
  • Jim Rice, 61, businessman and former law enforcement officer at Mounds and Oologah, as well as the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
  • Erich Richter, 46, former TCSO deputy and instructor for the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training.
  • Luke Sherman, 45, more than 20 years at TPD, currently leads the department’s Fugitive Warrants Division.

Other Frontier stories on the race for Tulsa County Sheriff