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Former Bartlesville police reserve charged with embezzlement

Posted at 10:13 PM, Mar 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-18 23:13:52-04

A former Capt. of the Bartlesville Police Reserves and Explorers turned himself in on embezzlement charges in Washington County on Monday.

Jerry Lee Kelly, 48, led the volunteer police programs, which operate as 501(3)c organizations. BPD says he was suspended from that role in December 2018.

An investigation reportedly showed Kelly made improper purchases and also wrote checks belonging to the reserves account that were deposited into his personal bank account. A statement says Kelly even declined to show financial documents when requested by the chief of police.

Several debit card purchases were discovered, which prompted the police department to request a grand jury investigation.

According to a BPD statement released on Monday night:

  • Upon the questionable debit card purchases being discovered, the police department requested a multi-county grand jury issue a subpoena for Arvest Bank records for the Bartlesville Police Reserves and Bartlesville Police Explorers bank accounts. The multi-county grand jury issued a subpoena for these records in January 2019 dating back five years for the reserve program and approximately one year for the explorers program.
  • Records show that a check was written on the reserve account and deposited into Kelly’s personal checking account in April to May 2015 in the amount of $1,750.00. It appears Kelley was using the Police Reserve funds to cover checks he had written out of his personal account. Additionally, there were other checks written on the Bartlesville Police Reserves account to reserve members. There is no record of these funds being returned to the Bartlesville Police Reserves account.
  • Records also show Bartlesville Police Reserve funds were used to purchase food and drink items and to rent space at the Bartlesville Community Center for a police reserve banquet after Kelly was suspended from the reserve unit and several other reserve officers had resigned or retired from the unit.
  • Additional transactions using the reserve and/or explorer bank cards were also discovered, including purchases for soft drinks, cigarettes and fuel, as well as a charge of $121.07 to Dish Network for “Jerry” to a “residential account.”

The department say it is working to provide more stringent oversight of the programs while the investigation is ongoing and going forward.

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