Tulsa Sheriff's Office Faked Certification For Cosplaying Cop Who Accidentally Killed A Man, Oops
It was bad enough that the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office apparently makes a habit of handing a badge and a gun to any rich schmuck who buys the department some flak vests and a few Crown Vics. Which is how reserve deputy Robert Bates, 73, found himself shooting Eric Harris to death, mistakenly thinking, Bates says, that he'd grabbed his taser. But don't worry about the reserve deputy program; the Sheriff's Office insisted Bates was fully trained as an “advanced reserve,” and had a whole assload of training in proper law enforcement procedure. He was just as well-trained as a real live deputy.
Yeah, about that: The Tulsa World reports that Bates was apparently such a good friend to the Sheriff's Office that he got a special Sheriff's Pet pass on the training:
Supervisors at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office were ordered to falsify a reserve deputy’s training records, giving him credit for field training he never took and firearms certifications he should not have received, sources told the Tulsa World.
At least three of reserve deputy Robert Bates’ supervisors were transferred after refusing to sign off on his state-required training, multiple sources speaking on condition of anonymity told the World.
Yr Wonkette would just like to call attention to the upside of this horrible combination of favoritism and apparent corruption: Sure, it led to a man with questionable competence killing a suspect during an arrest that he never should have gotten close to -- and in which he was only supposed to participate in a "support" role, taking notes and the like. But on the bright side, it sounds like the Tulsa Sheriff's Office is so rotten that there should soon be some excellent career options for reform-minded law enforcement professionals seeking leadership positions. And possibly some back pay and compensation for ill-used supervisors already working with the department.
Tulsa World Enterprise Editor Ziva Branstetter, appearing on MSNBC's The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell, said that the newspaper began receiving calls about Bates's training the day after the shooting, from multiple sources who requested anonymity.
On the same program, attorney Dan Smolen, who's representing the Harris family, said he had also received reports that Bates had "been wielding his weapon at times unnecessarily...and that there were good officers, good deputies, at the Sheriff's Office that were genuinely concerned about the situation."
Sheriff Stanley Glanz told a Tulsa radio show earlier this week that Bates was certified to handle the revolver he shot Harris with, as well as other weapons, but also said that the Sheriff's Office hadn't been able to locate the paperwork proving that Bates was certified. Maybe it blew away in the wind. That happens after shootings, sometimes.
Also, too, Glanz said that the deputy responsible for certifying Bates has moved on to a job with the U.S. Secret Service(!), “So we are going to talk to her to find out if for sure he’s been qualified with those (weapons).”
Maybe she's in charge of arranging office parties now.
Undersheriff Tim Albin, whose job title no doubt gets him teased on the playground a lot, was pretty darn certain that everything involving Bates's training was on the up and up, you bet:
He rejected claims that Bates’ training records were falsified and that supervisors who refused to do so were transferred to less desirable assignments.
“The training record speaks for itself. I have absolutely no knowledge of what you are talking about,” Albin said. “There aren’t any secrets in law enforcement. Zero. Those types of issues would have come up.”
Albin also angrily added that reporters should pay no attention to the man behind the curtain, that he was not a crook, and that there was nothing wrong with his pants, they're a special kind that are supposed to have little flames coming out of them.
The Tulsa World has "requested records showing which supervisors signed off on Bates’ training," but a Sheriff's Office attorney said the records couldn't be shared, due to an investigation, and also the dog ate them. Also, it was awful nice of Mr. Bates to buy the department that dog.
Some additional details about Bates's illustrious service also came from a statement that Bates gave to the Sheriff's Office as part of its investigation. He says that he attended a 5-day homicide investigation class in Dallas (where we bet they even let him use the fingerprint kit and look at lots of grody pictures of dead bodies!) and that he was given “active shooter response training” at the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office in Arizona. Why are we not the least bit surprised to find a connection -- tenuous though it may be -- to Joe Goddamn Arpaio in this story?
The statement also said that Bates had participated in "at least 100 other" assignments in addition to the botched April 2 undercover sting that ended with Harris's death.
The World also notes that Bates -- an insurance executive when not playing Lawman -- served as Sheriff Glanz's campaign manager in the 2012 campaign, and in 2011 was named "reserve deputy of the year." He also bought five cars for the task force that Sheriff Glanz let him play with.
We bet he really liked it a lot when they let him run the lights and siren, although it was unconfirmed at press time whether Bates actually hung his head out the window and went "Weee-ooo, weee-oooo!" during actual operations.
Yr Wonkette would just like to remind rich old men with extra money and a stiffy for playing cops that there are many fine first-person-shooter video games out there. Or maybe you could go to a CSI fantasy camp. Or consider slaking your bloodlust by going hunting with Dick Cheney. Hell, get a train set and make the trains crash, and then you can imagine coordinating the emergency response. Please, just keep your incompetent asses off the streets?
Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.