Corruption allegations bring changes to TPD

TULSA - On Tuesday, jurors in the police corruption trial will begin their third day of deliberations.

While the jury considers the fate of officers Jeff Henderson and Bill Yelton, changes have already begun within the Tulsa Police Department.

Chief Chuck Jordan says the investigation brought to light issues within the department that needed to be addressed.

He tells 2NEWS, "The first thing we looked at what was where are those holes in our policy? Where are the holes in our oversight? Whether this was true or not, whether these officers did it nor not - the fact was we can't prove they didn't sometimes because we didn't have the procedures in place to make sure everything was done correctly."

Jordan took over amid one of the darkest times in the department's history. Last summer, five officers were indicted.

The indictments came after Detective JJ Gray and Former ATF Agent Brandon McFadden pleaded guilty to corruption charges.

In June, former officer Harold Wells was convicted, while his fellow officers Bruce Bonham and Nick DeBruin were aquitted.

Chief Jordan says the federal investigation brought to light a need for changes to department policy in two areas: the handling of confidential informants and cash seizures.

Jordan says new department policies require all informants to documented. He says, "We will do check ups periodically to make sure they are still informants, to see what cases they are working on. Supervisors will look at that to reaffirm informants on a regular basis."

Jordan also made sure cash seizures of any kind are better documented and supervised.

He says, "We also looked at cash handling. How do we collect cash? Forfeiture cash and all other cash. What kind over oversight is there? Who has to document what is turned in their supervisory command? So we made some big changes to both those areas to tighten things up"

Another change requires members of the Special Investigations Division to supervise all controlled drug buys made by Tulsa officers.

Jordan says, "They are the experts on drug buys. We want them to give us guidance."

The Chief hopes these changes will bring added protection to his officers.

Jordan tells 2NEWS, "Our officers don't have tainted badges. We had a few officers that did what I think are some pretty horrific things. We have a few officers where it hasn't been proven. But I will tell you that rank and file of our police department are some of the finest officers in the country. They wouldn't consider doing anything unethical. They wouldn't do anything illegal. They are here to serve the public. They are going to do it well and with honor"

If Officers Henderson and Yelton are found to be innocent of the charges -- and a TPD Internal Affairs investigation clears them -- they could get their jobs back.
 

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