No one can find the paperwork for those certifications the Sheriff's Department said Robert Bates earned by completing hundreds of hours of training. It seems to have mysteriously disappeared right at the point where he mistook his gun for a Taser and shot a man.
This Eric Harris saga just keeps getting worse and worse. According to Tulsa World, sheriff's deputies falsified training records in order to allow Bates access to ride along with them. Some refused, and found themselves transferred.
Supervisors at the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office were ordered to falsify a reserve deputy’s training records, giving him credit for field training he never took and firearms certifications he should not have received, sources told the Tulsa World.
At least three of reserve deputy Robert Bates’ supervisors were transferred after refusing to sign off on his state-required training, multiple sources speaking on condition of anonymity told the World.
Additionally, Sheriff Stanley Glanz told a Tulsa radio station this week that Bates had been certified to use three weapons, including a revolver he fired at Harris. However, Glanz said the Sheriff’s Office has not been able to find the paperwork on those certifications.
It gets a little bit worse even than that. Evidently the deputy who did sign off on Bates' training and certification has a new job now.
The sheriff’s deputy that certified Bates has moved on to work for the Secret Service, Glanz said during the radio interview.
The reporters on this story dug into the records to find those certifications, and came up short, corroborating the accounts of witnesses mentioned above.
In Bates’ seven-page statement to Tulsa County sheriff’s investigators, obtained by the World on Wednesday, the reserve deputy states he previously attended a five-day homicide investigation school in Dallas and received “active shooter response training” by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Arizona.
Bates said in the statement that he had been involved in “at least 100 other” assignments, such as the undercover operation planned on April 2.
In that statement, Bates said he contacted a task force member on April 1 to ask if there was a “pending operation” he could assist with.
The task force member informed Bates of the plan to have an undercover officer buy a gun from Harris the following day.
Officials said Harris could have faced up to life in prison for selling the firearm because he had prior felony convictions.
During a briefing hours before the shooting, Bates said he was informed that Harris was “a bad son of a b----” who had gang affiliations.
Deputies in attendance were told Harris was known to carry a gun and to consider him armed and dangerous.