By DYLAN GOFORTH and KEVIN CANFIELD
The retirement of another high-ranking member of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office was made official on Tuesday, as the Board of County Commissioners accepted the resignation of Maj. Tom Huckeby.
Huckeby is the second member of sheriff’s office to retire in the fallout of the Eric Harris shooting. Tim Albin resigned from his position as undersheriff last month, and was quickly replaced by Rick Weigel.
Both Huckeby and Albin were named extensively in a leaked 2009 internal affairs document alleging special treatment for reserve deputy Robert Bates, who shot and killed Eric Harris April 2 during an undercover gun sting.
Harris fled from arrest, and was tackled by two deputies from the violent crimes task force which Bates volunteered with. Bates then approached Harris, who was pinned to the ground, and shot him once under the right arm. Bates said in his statement to sheriff’s office investigators that he believed he was firing his Taser, but had mistakenly drawn his revolver.
Harris died at a Tulsa hospital about an hour after the shooting, and Bates was later charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Acting County Commissioner Michael Willis said the commissioners’ action provides a record that Huckeby and Albin have retired, nothing more. The records are then sent on to the Commission on Law Enforcement Education and Training.
“CLEET tracks where everyone is commissioned to work,” Willis said. “When someone retires from a commission — police, Sheriff’s Office — then that commission is retired. “Since the Board of County Commissioners is the executive body of that government, they put that in the record so that that person can be treated as a retired (law enforcement) officer.”
Huckeby, by retiring with his peace officer status in tact, will be able to keep his badge, as well as his service weapon. Glanz said Huckeby must qualify on his weapon every year in order to carry the weapon.
“It means that when you’re a retired officer, if you run into someone that you’ve had trouble with during your career, you’ll have a weapon on you that you can defend yourself with,” Glanz said.
Glanz said a decision on the status of Maj. Shannon Clark, who oversaw jail operations and acted as TCSO’s public information officer, may also be ready this week. Clark was placed on administrative leave earlier this month, though Glanz has not commented publicly on the reason for Clark’s suspension.