Rogers County Commissioner says sheriff abused power, planted camera on private property

ROGERS COUNTY, Okla. - An abuse of power.  That's what a Rogers County commissioner called actions by the sheriff, who admits he put an undercover camera on the commissioner's property. 

But the sheriff claimed he had a good reason to do it. 

2NEWS investigator Marla Carter spoke with Sheriff Scott Walton and County Commissioner Kirt Thacker about the allegations.

Thacker owns about 400 acres of land.  It's where he raises livestock. 

One day he said he noticed something silver tied to one of his trees.  It turns out it was a chain attached to a $400 camera hidden in burlap. 

Walton admitted his office placed the camera there despite a "no-trespassing" sign on the property.

The sheriff said Thacker was using county equipment for a pond on his property.  Thacker said it was part of a flood mitigation plan for the county and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation cleared him of any wrong-doing.

"When I asked if he had a warrant to enter private property that's clearly marked with 'no trespassing' signs, he told me he didn't have a warrant and he didn't need one," said Thacker.

Walton says a warrant wasn't necessary.

"There's no need for a search warrant.  It's not intrusive of anybody's privacy.  It doesn't violate the fourth amendment or any other."

That camera and its surveillance work is now the focus of a state audit.

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