Blanchard City Attorney Backs Police Chief After Officers' Allegations

Thursday, October 7th 2010, 3:20 pm
By: News 9

Adrianna Iwasinski, NEWS 9

BLANCHARD, Oklahoma -- The City of Blanchard has responded to allegations of corruption and intimidation within the town's police department.

Officers at the Blanchard Police Department said they are being bullied, intimidated and coerced into documenting hear-say information, and threatened with their jobs if they refuse. They said the department is also refusing to pay its officers overtime and comp time.

"They tell us that they don't need to give us overtime because we are police officers and public servants and that we just need to deal with it because we took an oath of office," one Blanchard police officer said.

Steve Lanier was Blanchard's 2008 Officer of the Year and has been on the Blanchard Police force for the past three years.

"Since then I haven't changed the way I work, but now I am being threatened with my job," Lanier said.

He said Blanchard Police Chief Tom Linn is the one making threats against him and other officers, but on Tuesday Linn refuted the allegations.

"I have never threatened an officer. I just can't imagine being treated that way myself," Linn said.

Lanier said that is not true and he has the papers to prove it.

"I have been threatened myself by him, filed grievances that he signed saying that he has received them," Lanier said.

The city released a statement Thursday questioning the validity and timing of the allegations.

"It is unfortunate that these allegations have been leveled at a time that the parties are involved in union contract negotiations. The city would urge civility in the negotiations of a new union contract and does not engage in acts of character assassination."

"No attempt to gain advantage in contract negotiations justifies the leveling of unfounded allegations."

The news release also stated that since the officer who lodged the allegations is pursuing a criminal investigation with the attorney general's office, the city will not be making any further public comments.

Blanchard City Attorney David Perryman urged any police officer who believes that he or she has been wronged to take advantage of the grievance procedure set forth in the Fraternal Order of Police contract.

Perryman said all grievances are taken seriously and the city is unaware of any grievance that has not been processed accordingly.

Lanier and other officers said the allegations has nothing to do with contract negotiations. And while the city is backing their chief of police, residents in Blanchard said they are backing their officers.

"If they would do the right thing and be fair with their officer, that's all I care about, but they're not being fair," said Blanchard resident Betty Owens

At least three officers officer have filed a lawsuit against the city.

The Blanchard FOP president has gone to both the U.S. Attorney and the state Attorney General's office to see if any charges can be filed.