The Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier

More than two years after it was first suspended, the once-mighty Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office reserve deputy program has only four members in its ranks.

Three men (Mike Leitch, Aaron Moody and Arthur Richey) and one woman (Carrie Keiffer) have been activated since September 2016, according to a response by TCSO to a records request by The Frontier. Spokeswoman Casey Roebuck said there are an additional 25 reservists seeking to return to active duty who have not yet met the program’s requirements.

Leitch, Moody and Richey are former reserve deputies who re-entered the program and eventually met deepened qualifications.

Despite policies for the program being revamped and made official more than a year ago, the sheriff’s office is still not accepting applications. Sheriff Vic Regalado told the Tulsa World earlier this year that he preferred to “take it slow” while fixing the many issues that plagued the program under former sheriff Stanley Glanz.

And no matter what, Regalado said, it’s unlikely the reserve program ever reaches the lofty heights of the former administration.

At one time, prior to Glanz’s downfall, the program boasted a roster of nearly 130 reserve deputies — volunteers who worked thousands of hours each year providing security and even doing solo patrols throughout Tulsa County.

“I don’t think at this point in time we have a need for that many reserves,” Regalado told The Frontier, adding that he didn’t know how large an effective reserve program would need to be.

“It certainly won’t be 130,” he said.

Tulsa County Sheriff Vic Regalado is sworn into service by Tulsa County District Judge Bill Musseman. DYLAN GOFORTH/The Frontier

The reserve program, as it had been run under the Glanz administration, came to an end after reserve deputy Robert Bates shot and killed an unarmed man in April 2015. Bates, then 73 years old, had been a reserve deputy for years when he shot Eric Harris during an undercover sting operation. Harris had sold a gun to an undercover deputy then fled when other deputies arrived to arrest him.

Bates told investigators he thought he was holding his stun gun when he fired one shot at Harris, killing him. It was later revealed that Bates — and many other reserve deputies — had not done the necessary training to volunteer for the sheriff’s office, something that either happened through lack of oversight or by sheriff’s office officials turning a blind eye.

Records later revealed that Bates had donated thousands of dollars both to Glanz’s re-election campaigns and to the sheriff’s office itself in the form of vehicles and equipment. Bates, according to a transcript from a grand jury proceeding, was once “punished” by Glanz by being required to donate an SUV to TCSO.

Bates was then allowed by Glanz to drive that SUV on solo patrols throughout the county.

Those revelations led to the reserve program being suspended, and to an internal audit that showed about 80 percent of the reserves had “deficient” files — missing paperwork or even having not completed required training.

Glanz was indicted by a grand jury and resigned in November 2015, and Regalado easily won a special election (and later a full election) to replace him.

Bates was eventually convicted of second-degree manslaughter for the shooting and served about 18 months in prison before being released. Glanz was convicted of two misdemeanors for which he only recently came off probation.

Regalado said that while progress has been slow getting the reserve program back on its feet, that deliberate process has been necessary.

“We essentially had to start over,” he said. “We want to get through this and as with anything good, it takes time.

“I’m proud of where the program is now and the people who have pursued that training, and we’ll have a better program as a result.”

The reserves
Moody operates the Tulsa County-based “Moody Construction Group.” Leitch is the construction manager for the Tulsa City-County Library system.

Richey is in property development, while Keiffer owns Freddie’s Hamburgers.

The four current reserve deputies have combined to work more than 900 hours, unpaid work they have “donated” to the sheriff’s office since being activated.

The majority of that time — 577.75 hours — has been spent on patrol.

Prior to the new reserve deputy regulations, the volunteers could train at a level that allowed them to patrol on their own — acting essentially as full-time deputies with powers of arrest.

Now, timesheets signed by reserve deputies on patrol list the name of the full-time deputy who is overseeing them.

Three of the reserve deputies — Keiffer, Moody, and Leitch — combined to work 213 hours at the 2017 Tulsa Fair. Traditionally, TCSO reserve deputies provided the lion’s share of security work at the fair, though that changed in 2015 when the program was suspended.

Moody and Leitch also provided some assistance following the August tornado that struck midtown Tulsa.

No more task force work
One of the reserve deputy policy changes announced by Regalado last year was that reserve deputies would no longer be allowed on special assignments or “task forces” like the one Bates volunteered for the day Harris was killed.

Under “Reserve Deputy Functions” in the TCSO policy manual, it lists:
Augment patrol;
Special events;
Court security;
Jail operations;
Hospital guard duty;
Tulsa State Fair;
As needed when directed by the Sheriff.

However, one of the reserve deputies currently on the roster has listed 52 hours of work serving warrants, and even identified an eight-hour shift in July on the “Warrant Task Force.”

Moody’s timesheets list him as working 12 hours on a “warrant sweep” on Feb. 10; 10 hours on a “warrant squad” on April 6-7; eight hours on a “warrant grant” on May 16; eight hours on a “warrant task force” on July 7; and 14 hours on a “warrant grant/DUI shift” on Aug. 26 and 27.

TCSO spokeswoman Casey Roebuck said Moody wasn’t actually on a task force, and that writing that on his time sheet was a “wording mistake on his part.”

Roebuck said Moody had been part of a group of deputies serving warrants, rather than on a task force.