OKC Police Chaplain Back On The Job

Thursday, May 15th 2014, 10:29 pm
By: News 9

An Oklahoma City police chaplain was let go because he spoke out to News 9 about what happened on May 20, 2013. Now 24 hours later the chaplain has his job back.

Chaplain Bobby Altstatt, who had been with the department since before the Murrah bombing, went on our air, giving a personal apology to the families who lost their children in last year's tornado. 

Some found out their child had died by a phone call and Altstatt felt heartbroken, knowing that's an area where he could have stepped up and helped.

"I really feel like we dropped the ball," Altstatt said. "We could have done better."

The next day, the police department let him go from that position. A spokesperson said in part, Altstatt didn't follow protocol when it comes to speaking to the media and he talked about specifics, which violated chaplain code.

5/14/2014 Related Story: Oklahoma City Police Chaplain Released From Position

"He's not authorized to speak about that incident, period," said Oklahoma City Police Capt. Dexter Nelson.

Chief Bill Citty said he learned about this on Thursday and he wants to make sure the public realizes death notifications for the Plaza Towers children weren't in the Oklahoma City jurisdiction.

"I have some concern about taking responsibility for something Oklahoma City wasn't responsible for," Citty said.

Citty admitted Altstatt's heart was in the right place. He talked with him this morning and said Altstatt has agreed to come back on board as a Chaplain with the department.

"What I told him, it's not the death penalty, Bobby, and we want you on," Citty said. "You've been here a long time. I like Bobby. He has a big heart. He cares about people. I can overlook mistakes if someone's trying to do the right thing."

I spoke briefly with Chaplain Altstatt this afternoon. He did not wish to comment any further.

5/13/2014 Related Story: OCPD Chaplains Take Some Responsibility For May 20 Miscommunication