CRESCENT, Okla. - Janet Smith says she knew she had inherited some problems when she took over as the city manager of Crescent last year.
After an investigation and three arrests, she says they are on their way to solving those problems and getting things back in order.
“Obviously, whenever I let the chief of police go, that became my primary focus,” said Smith.
Smith started her job as the Crescent city manager on Oct. 1 of last year.
Just 20 days later, she terminated the police chief.
“There were issues that I felt the best way to address them was to terminate his employment, and I think we see the validity of that now,” said Smith.
An audit of equipment at the police department showed three guns were missing.
“We were being told that they had been sent back to the manufacturer to have work done. And, whenever we called, that was not the case at all,” said Smith.
An investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation found three former officers, including the former chief, had pawned those guns at several different metro area pawn shops.
“They had been pawned, and I don’t think it was just once or twice. I think it was several times,” said Smith.
Former chief John Gilbert was arrested and charged with one count of embezzlement.
David Henderson, a former reserve officer, is facing the same charge as well as another former full-time officer, Joseph Hanson.
“I have no idea what to say on why. You know, I mean, how individuals just get caught up in things and, for some reason, I guess, needed quick money or something like that,” said Smith.
Smith says she is currently working on revamping the police department, and they’ll continue investigating to make sure the public can trust their officers.
“Hopefully, this is the worst and this is the only thing that we will find. You know but, if there’s more, we will keep looking until I’m satisfied all the issues have been addressed,” said Smith.
Smith says she has interviewed several candidates for police chief and plans to make a decision in about two weeks.
Those former officers could be facing up to a year in jail and a $5,000 fine.