A forensic artist and 38-year veteran of the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation has been appointed the law enforcement agency's interim director.
Harvey Pratt, 69, regarded as one of the foremost forensic artists in America, will become interim director when Director A. DeWade Langley leaves on Monday.
"I love this agency. I love the employees," Pratt said. "I think that I can hold a balance and move things forward and try to resolve some issues that have come up recently."
Pratt referenced a series of articles in The Oklahoman raising some issues brought forth by a former OSBI investigator and families whose loved ones' deaths remain unsolved. Among the complaints were agents' casework and internal fighting among its employees.
"I want the people of Oklahoma to know we're going to look into those things," he said.
"The OSBI is a professional organization, and we've helped solve a lot of cases."
The seven-member OSBI Commission unanimously selected Pratt from several internal candidates. Commissioners have planned a nationwide search for a permanent director. Applications for that position will be taken until Oct. 1, and interviews with finalists will determine Langley's successor.
Langley, 60, has been director of the agency for the past 15 years. He will become chairman and director of the University of Central Oklahoma's new School of Criminal Justice in Edmond.
Pratt started his law enforcement career as a Midwest City police officer in 1965 after serving a tour in Vietnam in the Marine Corps.
In 1972, Pratt became an OSBI agent working narcotics. During the next 20 years, he rose up through the ranks and retired as an assistant director over Investigations and Information Services. He returned as a special investigator/forensic art expert.
Pratt is a member of the Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes and a Southern Cheyenne traditional chief.
As a forensic artist, Pratt has specialized in witness description drawings, aging progression, skull reconstruction, photo retouching and skull tracings.
"I've had a lot of success as an artist, but I've always watched the agency," he said. "I've still got a lot of energy — a lot of love specifically for this agency."