Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton addressed media Friday following a telephone conversation exchanged bewteen him and a Tulsa Police officer recently. That call was recorded and obtained by media sources and later broadcasted.
Walton said the recording is about a conversation that took place between him and Tulsa Police Officer Craig Heatherly over a social media post allegedly made by Heatherly against an RCSO deputy, who Heathelry claimed did not stop when flagged for help.
The post, Walton said, was in the nature of, “A shout out to the Rogers County Deputy that drove past me while I had someone at gunpoint in the area of 11th and 145th E. Ave. and did not render any help.”
Walton said after being alerted to the post, he put forth effort to investigate it by trying to reach Heatherly and later TPD officials.
After speaking with TPD, the social media post was removed, Walton said, but still he felt the deputy was owed an apology since the deputy did not see Heatherly’s plea for assistance.
After waiting seven days to speak to Heatherly, Walton obtained his phone number ultimately speaking to him.
“Officer Heatherly and myself had a conversation…and I had all intentions of explaining this to him, explain our side and try to reach some resolution there, at the same time accomplish an apology,” Walton said.
No apology was agreed to be made by Heatherly. Walton said he got aggravated and used explicit language during the course of the recorded phone conversation.
“It does not excuse me of that (cursing) but I apologized to those who found it offensive. As far as the message I was trying to deliver, I would not back up from that an inch. I think it's a very cowardly way to handle any situation by way of social media post to get twisted, bent and misunderstood - and rarely understood. Our deputy was convicted on social media before he even realized there was an issue there,” Walton said.
He emphasized if a deputy chose the exact same behavior as Heatherly, he would have been suspended.
Walton added, “I think as far as situation goes with Officer Heatherly and myself, it is over with. If he needed help today, we (RCSO) would be there and we would be there quick and we would do anything. “
He continued, “I think law enforcement in the profession is still blessed with the ability to be able to put differences aside and when it's time to do a job that's often ugly, we get in there and do that ugly together and accomplish what we need to.”
A request made to the Tulsa Police Department for a statement could not be obtained at press time.