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[May 20, 2006]
Deputy Chief Bill Wells is reassigned: He had been acting chief while Chief Dave Been was on leave.
(Tulsa World (OK) (KRT) Via Thomson Dialog NewsEdge) May 20--Tulsa Police Chief Dave Been has reassigned Deputy Chief Bill Wells, who was acting chief while Been was on administrative leave, to the department's Administrative Bureau.
In that role, Wells will have responsibility for the police Forensic Lab, Property Room and Animal Shelter.
"This is the responsibility I had for at least three years as a deputy chief under (former) Chief (Ron) Palmer," said Been, who returned to duty Monday.
Former Mayor Bill LaFortune named Wells acting chief after suspending Been on Feb. 20 over accusations that he tried to keep under wraps a report that was critical of the department's Special Weapons and Tactics Team. Been returned to work Monday.
A report commissioned by LaFortune illustrated a rift among Police Department executives, with Been and Deputy Chief Mark Andrus on one side and Wells and Deputy Chief Mark McCrory on the other.
Been's changes were made with Mayor Kathy Taylor's approval, Taylor spokesman Jim McCarthy said.
Been had said during a May 12 press conference announcing his return that he intended to keep in place the leadership changes that Wells had made while he was acting chief. But McCarthy said Been had to move Wells once he returned because of the department's leadership structure.
"He had to put Wells somewhere," McCarthy said. "And then, when he did, it's my understanding that caused the need to move Andrus somewhere."
While Wells was acting chief, he had moved Andrus from the Operations Bureau to the Administrative Bureau, which Wells now runs.
Been moved Andrus to the Investigations Bureau, which oversees the Detective, Training and Special Investigations divisions.
Wells had moved McCrory, who was over the Administrative Bureau, to the Operations Bureau. McCrory will stay in that position, Been said.
As head of the Administrative Bureau, Wells will be in charge of the new $16 million police laboratory and property room complex that is among the third-penny sales tax projects voters approved earlier this month.
Wells managed the current lab while he headed the Investigations Division before LaFortune suspended Been.
"It just makes sense that he should continue through to the finish of that project," Been said.
He said the move is the best one for the department and the city.
Wells declined to comment.
Animal Shelter employees were notified of the change via e-mail Tuesday, said Garl Willis, assistant shelter director.
Wells had said the changes he implemented as acting chief were carried out to comply with the recommendations of the National Tactical Officers Association's interim report on the SWAT Team, which recommended changes in leadership.
Also, Been returned the Office of Integrity and Compliance, formerly known as Internal Affairs, to the supervision of the Headquarters Division's major.
Wells had moved the office out from under a major's supervision and had ordered the office's captain to report directly to him, according to Capt. Travis Yates, who works in the Headquarters Division.
Been said that change could have violated the terms of the consent decree that settled a class-action racial discrimination lawsuit against the Police Department.
The changes will have little impact on day-to-day operations, Yates said.
"I think for the most part, the officers working the street, they really haven't noticed that, and that, I think, is a positive thing," Yates said.
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