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Sallisaw police chief stripped of supervisory powers amid investigation

The elected chief of police in Sallisaw is accused of mistreating employees and creating a hostile work environment, bringing the department to “the point of being dysfunctional,” city officials say.
by Andrew Knittle Published: February 18, 2013
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“I've been going to work and just sitting there. Make 'em look at me.”

Edwards said the public, for the most part, is behind him.

“It's been great,” Edwards said. “They're pretty disappointed in the city.”

He said the public is upset “because it's elected (the police chief post), and they feel like they've been gone around.”

“The public support has been super … I can't ask for any better,” Edwards said.

Petty cash incident

According to documents released by Sallisaw city officials, Edwards already has confessed to taking city funds. He told investigators he didn't see anything wrong with it.

“It's all been paid back,” he said.

“It's not like I tried to steal the money.”

Edwards is being investigated for leaving an IOU for $40 inside a petty cash drawer at the police station.

The chief also told investigators that he took $20 two other times.

Sallisaw police Capt. Beau Gabbert, who is overseeing the department's day-to-day operations during the 90-day period, indicated that Edwards was questioned in mid-January.

“I asked him if he knew taking public funds was a crime, and he stated that he didn't think of it that way,” Gabbert wrote.

Baker said it is against Sallisaw city policy to take public funds for personal use.

Sequoyah County District Attorney Brian Kuester said his office received the report from the Sallisaw Police Department last month.

“That investigation has not yet been reviewed nor a decision made as to what, if any, charges will be filed,” Kuester said.

Sallisaw is about 25 miles from the Arkansas border.

The city has a population of about 9,000.

by Andrew Knittle
Investigative Reporter
Andrew Knittle has covered state water issues, tribal concerns and major criminal proceedings during his career as an Oklahoma journalist. He has won reporting awards from the state's Associated Press bureau and prides himself on finding a real...
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