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Tulsa County sheriff focused on following policy

Posted at 6:26 PM, Feb 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-04 06:54:32-05

Wednesday morning interim Tulsa County Sheriff Michelle Robinette said she has 65 days left on the job. In April a new sheriff will be elected for Tulsa County. 

Robinette said she is committed though to changing the sheriff's office during her short time in-charge.

Last November Stanley Glanz resigned after 27 years as Tulsa County sheriff. Undersheriff Rick Weigel then stepped into Glanz office, but retired in January. Robinette officially began serving as sheriff on Monday. 

Robinette met Wednesday for one-on-one interviews with several Tulsa media outlets. It was her first time talking with the media since becoming sheriff.

She told 2 Works For You, TCSO is committed to action on the eight recommendations it received last year from a Tulsa County grand jury. Robinette said she is overseeing that process, as she also waits on an independent audit of the sheriff's office and reserve deputy program from the Community Safety Institute.

The reserve deputy program has been suspended since the shooting death of Eric Harris, by then reserve deputy Robert Bates. 

The audit should be available in late February according to the sheriff's office.  

"I live here, I work here, this is my family, this is my home. I know what is going to be in the report," Robinette said. "That is okay. I'm excited for that report to come, so we can get whatever issues they might comment on. We can get those out here, we can get those addressed. Or I can say we have already addressed this and I'll show you that I have addressed this."

The sheriff suspects the report will overlap with the grand jury recommendations, which is why some issues in the audit might have already been addressed. 

"The internal affairs unit was one of the recommendations," she said. "That has been completed. We've restructured it, moved it so that it isn't under the constant control, only control of the undersheriff now. It is more autonomous." 

Robinette said the sheriff's office is also in the process of overhauling its record keeping, after discoveries of incomplete or missing training records following the death of Eric Harris. TCSO is also working to let anyone communicate with her office's administration.

"We have opened up an anonymous tip line for employees as well as individuals from the county," she said. 

Robinette said the sheriff's office also needs to return to following its own policies, which some of the grand jury recommendations also point to. 

"We have good policies in place. We have to follow and we need to hold accountable for not following those policies. That is a change that we can do."

After Glanz stepped down and several other TCSO administrators left office, Robinette said she understands if the public's trust is gone. She said the administration needs to regain the public's trust, but she stands by the deputies working in the jail and on the streets.

"There were issues in administration, absolutely," she said. "That has come out. That is why we are where we are. Question the administration. But don't question the loyalty and dedication of the people still doing their job."

She added that the constant change over the last few months has taken a toll on deputies, but with a new plan in place consistency should soon be here when Tulsa County voters elect a new sheriff in April.

"Morale is based on stability of the office," Robinette said. "Morale is based on certainty of what is going to happen. For me, for the next 65 days, that is what I'm going to try and maintain. Get us to a stable place as employees."