INVESTIGATION: Undercover video shows workers sentenced to community service in Tulsa not working
8:59 AM, Apr 25, 2013
8:22 PM, Apr 27, 2013
TULSA - When people are sentenced to community service instead of jail time, they are supposed to work in the community.
According to the
City of Tulsa website, when a defendant does not have the ability to pay his or her fines and/or court costs the Court may sentence that person to a community service 'work day' order.
We talked to a judge who said that because of jail overcrowding, he will sometimes sentence defendants to community service for minor offenses. He said it serves a dual purpose. It puts less strain on the jail and it's an opportunity to benefit the community.
Our 2NEWS undercover investigation caught people sentenced to community service in the city of Tulsa, not working. It has city leaders demanding changes.
On four separate days, our undercover cameras caught contractors, hired by the city, driving around community services crews, not picking up trash, taking long breaks and waiting on crews that never showed up.
Click on the video player to see a compilation of the four days we followed the crews around Tulsa. If you're on your phone go to the Video section to watch the clip.
Tax dollars are paying $150,000 a year to pay for contractors, who are supposed to oversee community service crews.
2NEWS Investigators followed around community service crews, tracking their every move.
Some days we saw them hard at work, but on others the contractor drove right past the trash the crew was supposed to pick up.
We showed our undercover video to Mark Hogan, head of the City of Tulsa's security.
"Yea, that's what he should've been picking up," said Hogan.
Our cameras even caught someone serving community service, who appears to be sleeping. Another day, the van showed up, but the crew didn't.
"They're supposed to be there everyday. There's a lot of days we show up and nobody shows up for their community service," said Hogan.
The interim court administrator, Kelly Brader, disagrees and says that's rare. She's on the sentencing end of community service and sends community service crews to Mark Hogan.
Hogan admits there's an oversight issue.
"We could have more supervision, which would give us more accountability," he said.