Ex-investigator says Okla. bureau flawed

July 26, 2010 at 10:47 AM
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OKLAHOMA CITY, July 26 (UPI) -- A former investigator for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations accused the agency of incompetence and fraud, The Oklahoman reported Monday.

Kyle Eastridge, a former Oklahoma City police homicide detective hired by the OSBI as a cold case investigator in January, said the bureau mishandled homicide cases, misused federal funds and misrepresented its clearance rate, the Oklahoma City newspaper said.

Eastridge resigned July 15.

"The OSBI is a high-performance car -- you've got the state-of-the-art crime lab, the equipment, all the extras -- driven by amateur drivers," Eastridge said.

OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown said Eastridge is misinformed and cited cases that were with district attorneys, not the OSBI.

Tulsa County Sheriff Stanley Glanz, vice chairman of the seven-member OSBI commission, said he thought a lot of the criticism was undeserved.

"They have a lot of difficult cases they're working with," he said. "They do the best they can with the funds they are given and the agents they have."

OSBI agents investigate some of Oklahoma's highest profile crimes. Since the agency has little original jurisdiction, most of its investigations are done at the request of local law enforcement, The Oklahoman said. OSBI also offers support operations, including advanced forensics work in violent crime cases.

Among other things, Eastridge said, OSBI case agents did not make arrests in at least four homicides, despite DNA confirmation and other evidence implicating the identified suspects.

Eastridge and others also questioned OSBI's declaration that its 2009 homicide clearance rate was 83.7 percent, The Oklahoman said.

"The national average used to be around 65 percent," Eastridge said. "It was always considered pretty good if you could get a clearance rate a little over the national average. They're saying their clearance rates are in the 80 and 90 percents. It's absurd."

A routine federal audit of a federal grant is expected to begin this week, Eastridge said. He alleged the federal funds were wasted on cases that were past the statute of limitations.

"The audit will determine if funds are being used appropriately," he said. "If not, they won't get a renewed grant."

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