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Oklahoma County commissioner criticized over stance

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Oklahoma County Commissioner, 
Brian Maughan - District 2, at the Oklahoma County Commissioners meeting in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019.   Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma County Commissioner, Brian Maughan - District 2, at the Oklahoma County Commissioners meeting in Oklahoma City, Okla. on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. Photo by Chris Landsberger, The Oklahoman

Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan is being harshly criticized for voting against having sheriff deputies at schools.

An organization of sheriff deputies and detention officers told Maughan in a letter it had no confidence in him because of his opposition to sheriff deputies serving as school resource officers.

"All children of Oklahoma County deserve to be protected from danger, and their safety is paramount," a sheriff's lieutenant, Larry Grant, wrote Maughan in a letter made public Friday.

Grant is president of the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 155.

"We believe that this is another attempt on your part to further your agenda to dismantle the Sheriff's Office and gain more control over another duly elected official, the Sheriff," he wrote. "These actions are unacceptable. ... Our vote of 'NO CONFIDENCE' was unanimous."

Sheriff P.D. Taylor currently has 21 deputies at 13 public and private schools. The schools pick up most of the cost.

County commissioners voted 2-1 in meetings in April to renew agreements with a number of those schools. Under the agreements, a uniformed deputy and marked patrol vehicle will be present during normal operating hours. The schools will pay $253 per day per deputy, an increase over previous agreements.

Maughan said at an April 10 commissioners meeting that he is absolutely in favor of public safety at schools but believes there are others who could assume that role so the sheriff could focus on the jail. He pointed out that the U.S. Justice Department has had concerns about a shortage of manpower at the jail.

"Obviously, they don't have enough deputies at the jail when two weeks ago someone was able just to walk right out past them and escape," Maughan said Friday. "And then a couple of months ago, we had a jail riot which could have ended in a tragedy. So I'm worried about the public safety of those who work inside the jail."

The organization took the "no confidence" vote Wednesday. Maughan said the sheriff "didn't even know that they had done this."

"I just think they've gone rogue," the commissioner said. "They're off doing their own political agenda."

In a Facebook post Friday, Grant wrote that the sheriff "has no input in our decisions."

"Those persons who choose to say we are speaking for the Sheriff are absolutely wrong," Grant wrote in the post. "Don’t blame the Sheriff for our decisions, we stand alone."

Nolan Clay

Nolan Clay was born in Oklahoma and has worked as a reporter for The Oklahoman since 1985. He covered the Oklahoma City bombing trials and witnessed bomber Tim McVeigh's execution. His investigative reports have brought down public officials,... Read more ›

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