new sheriffs

Four men have gotten an early start at potentially running for Tulsa County sheriff. Jim Rice, top left, Hastings Siegfried, top right, Dan Miller, bottom left, John Fitzpatrick, bottom right.

Though the filing date is still more than seven months away, four men have expressed varying levels of interest in becoming Tulsa County’s next sheriff.

The group includes two longtime law enforcement officers and two businessmen who have spent time as reserves at the Tulsa Police Department and Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office.

Only one potential candidate, John Fitzpatrick, has filed any paperwork with the county election board. Fitzpatrick is a CEO who also teaches college courses and serves as a TPD reserve officer.

Two others, Jim Rice (a longtime officer and current owner of Yellow Checker Cab,) and Dan Miller (a Tulsa Police officer in the city’s northern district for nearly 20 years,) have begun campaigning on social media.

Hastings Siegfried (a TCSO reserve deputy and vice chairman and chief operating officer of NORDAM) has told The Frontier he is mulling a run, as well.

One thing is clear: Whoever replaces Sheriff Stanley Glanz will face many challenges.

“Earning back the public trust is going to be essential,” Miller told The Frontier during a recent phone interview. “The sheriff’s office has gotten away from talking to the public and communicating with the public, and that’s a shame.

“Whoever is the next sheriff will probably have to do that first.”

The employee churn within TCSO since the April 2 killing of Eric Harris by reserve deputy Robert Bates, a close friend and campaign manager for Glanz, has happened at a rapid rate.

Undersheriff Tim Albin, a man Glanz trusted enough to essentially be the face of TCSO, was forced out. So was Maj. Tom Huckeby, previously among the sheriff’s inner circle. Shannon Clark, who acted as public information officer and jail administrator, was fired and former Capt. Billy McKelvey was demoted all the way down to the rank of deputy.

Clark has said he plans to file a wrongful termination lawsuit and that the sheriff essentially used him as a scapegoat for the public fallout after Harris’ death.

Even Glanz’s immediate future is uncertain. The longtime sheriff has said he will not step down (even after County Commissioner Karen Keith suggested he consider it) and has said he will not seek re-election. The OSBI and reportedly the FBI are investigating the Sheriff’s Office, as is a grand jury, which might ultimately ask for the sheriff’s removal.

One way or another, there will soon be a new sheriff in town.

“I’m not going to badmouth Stanley as a person, I’m just not going to do it,” Rice said. “Stanley brought the sheriff’s office out of the dark ages … but he has done a terrible job in the last 10 years of running the Sheriff’s Office.”

Rice said he intends to run on the message that “no one else needs to die in the Tulsa County Jail.”

Oklahoma State Department of Health records show 19 people have died in the Tulsa Jail since 2010. While sheriff’s officials have said that some amount of jail deaths are essentially inevitable, the inescapable fact is that lawsuits follow in-custody deaths, and defending those lawsuits costs money.

Rice ‘just a Tulsa boy’

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Jim Rice.

Since 2009, more than 20 civil rights lawsuits have been filed against the Sheriff’s Office or its employees regarding problems in the jail. Half of those lawsuits remain pending, records show.

Glanz’s office spent at least $700,000 on legal fees during that time to fight the lawsuits, an investigation by The Frontier found.

The funds went to defend the sheriff against suits alleging that black employees were harassed and denied promotions and that black prisoners were assaulted in the jail by staff members. Lawsuits were also filed on behalf of five inmates who died after they allegedly didn’t receive proper medical care at the jail.

“That is money that could be spent elsewhere,” Rice said. “That’s just a fact. It’s a fact that the Sheriff’s Office needs things like a helicopter and a K9 division and a motorcycle division. … You call any big law enforcement agency and ask what their two best tools are and they’ll tell you it’s helicopters and dogs, and the Sheriff’s Office doesn’t have either one.”

The Sheriff’s Office does not own a helicopter, public information officer Justin Green said. However, the agency does have access to a helicopter owned by a reserve deputy.

Green said the Sheriff’s Office presently has only one K9, which is used primarily to search for narcotics.

Rice, whose law enforcement career started as a reserve officer with TPD in the 1970s, has spent time as the chief of police in Oologah, an investigator looking at worker’s compensation cases for the federal government, and an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper.

He also supervised the Mounds Police Department’s K9 unit.

“I think that I’ve done enough different things that I understand the problems a sheriff will face,” Rice said. “And, look, I’m just a regular guy, I know that I don’t know everything, so I will surround myself with people who know what I don’t.”

Rice said he has enlisted the help of someone, whom he does not wish to name yet, who “really understands how to run jails.”

“He knows budgets and everything about running a jail. He’s kind of my campaign advisor,” Rice said.

Rice admits that he’s “a little rough around the edges.” He’s prone to Facebook outbursts and has, by his count, had three heart attacks.

“I’m just a Tulsa boy, and a former Marine, who’s never had to kiss anyone’s ass. I’ve always kicked it,” Rice said. “I don’t want the money, I want the job. I want to do good by Tulsa, and I think if people hear my plea, they’ll understand that.”

Miller: ‘I walk the walk’


Miller, like Rice, has spent much of his adult life in law enforcement. He has spent nearly 20 years in the field, the last 15 of which have been with the Tulsa Police Department’s northside unit.

Miller said he has experience working with large groups, having run disaster response following deadly tornadoes in Moore and Joplin, Mo.

“In those situations I was able to get a very big group of people together and get them on the same page and say, ‘Hey, this is what we need to get done,’ ” Miller said. “It’s one thing to be able to talk the talk, but I walk the walk.”

Miller said the next sheriff will immediately need to focus on openness and transparency in order to rebuild public trust which has become frayed since the Harris shooting.

Public perception of TCSO, Miller said, is that it’s rampant with cronyism and favoritism.

“Tulsa County has been known as a good old boy system for years,” he said. “You have to build a structure and an organization of not taking shortcuts, and that starts at the top.

“Right now, (TCSO is) an organization that is somewhat faltering because of the things that happened with the Bates shooting. Now you’re finding out things going on behind the scenes, like (Glanz) having Staph Attack, stuff like that. You’re seeing stuff that looking at it from the outside doesn’t look right.”

A Frontier investigation last week showed that Glanz once owned stock in a company that makes a cleaning product the Tulsa Jail used to combat staph infections. Glanz also pumped up the product’s value in press releases by the publicly held company during a time when the stock rose rapidly in value.

County officials told The Frontier there is no county policy prohibiting county officials from owning stock in a company that does business with the county. The sheriff and other county officials must be relied upon to police such potential conflicts of interest on their own, two county commissioners said.

“How far do I have to go to check this out?” Commissioner John Smaligo said. “At some point you have to rely on the word of the elected official and go from there.”

County commissioners approved the purchase of Staph Attack from the company in which Glanz owned stock along with other purchases by the Sheriff’s Office. The OSBI has questioned at least one county official about the matter, The Frontier has learned.

TCSO’s relationship with other law enforcement agencies has worn thin, as well. As The Frontier first reported Wednesday, Sapulpa Police Department Chief Rick Rumsey blasted Glanz in a letter sent following the death of Sapulpa Lt. Trey Pritchard.

Rumsey was responding to a condolence letter sent by Glanz following Pritchard’s death. In it, Glanz misidentified the deceased officer, instead referencing the “tragic loss” of the person alleged to have killed Pritchard.

Glanz’s office later said a secretary wrote the letter and has apologized to the Sapulpa Police Department for the mistake. Glanz was not available to comment on the matter.

In the letter, Glanz also offered Sapulpa PD his assistance. However, Rumsey noted in his response that his department specifically asked TCSO for help with a homicide that occurred during Pritchard’s funeral. Rumsey said the response from an unnamed TCSO major — later identified as Maj. Rob Lillard — was: “Why would we do that?”

Rumsey’s letter said he had never before witnessed “such a break in our law enforcement community.”

Miller said his mission, if elected, “is not just to rebuild the trust with the public, but with the law enforcement community in Tulsa County.”

“There are hurt feelings and just outright animosity, you know, where you hear: ‘This is the Tulsa County way, and we’re not going to do anything with you.’ ”

The other two candidates, Fitzpatrick and Siegfried, come from similar backgrounds. Siegfried, who was out of the country and could not be interviewed for this story, is a longtime reserve deputy with TCSO with a successful business history.

Fitpatrick: TCSO needs ‘serious overhaul’


John Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick was a pilot for years in the Air National Guard and later worked for Harley Davidson and Indian Motorcycle Company before founding Tulsa-based LifeGuard America, Inc., in 2001. That company sought to improve the organ, tissue and eye transplant process.

He joined the TPD reserves in 2005, and estimates he’s since logged more than 8,000 volunteer hours.

He filed a financial disclosure form in July, a document potential candidates must file after either raising or spending more than $1,000 toward their campaign.

“What happened is, I was approached by several people here of some substantial standing that asked me to run,” he said. “I’m not a politician, but they were persistent and it made me take a serious look at the situation.”

Fitzpatrick said that, should he be elected, he would treat the Sheriff’s Office like a business.

“Maybe this is an answer that shows I’m not a politician, but right now the Sheriff’s Office seems like a rudderless ship,” he said. “It’s a place that needs a serious overhaul. It needs to go from its appearance of a good old boys network to a business. It’s a public company, that’s how I look at it, and it should be run like a public company.

“With my background in finances, I look at the Sheriff’s Office annual report, and it’s not one that I see in business. I don’t see anything about income, where money is coming from and where it’s going.”

Glanz’s spending has raised questions and concerns, especially in the wake of Harris’ death.

A Frontier investigation found that tax money intended for jail operations paid instead for trips to conferences where employees ordered cheesecake via room service and racked up $30 daily valet parking fees. Glanz and Abin also spent public funds to attend a conference at a $500-per-night resort and the sheriff’s expenses did not comply with county travel policy.

County funds were also used to send Bates and another wealthy reserve deputy on several trips and to pay for the sheriff’s governmental affairs director, Terry Simonson, to attend his own swearing in ceremony at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Fitzpatrick also said he believes a complete training overhaul should be done. Currently, Texas-based Community Safety Institute is conducting a study to see if any such changes should be implemented.

However, Glanz has connections to the agency and it was his choice of the three groups that submitted proposals to do the study, so Fitzpatrick may wish to conduct his own rebuild.

“I have a background in business re-engineering that would let me go in and ask the questions that need to be asked,” he said. “I think I have some strong leadership characteristics. I have a business background and military background and a law enforcement background. I know how to run a business and be accountable.

“That’s what I would bring to the Sheriff’s Office.”